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Mina Boromand's "Aphantasia" at Silk Road Art Gallery

Author : Amir Esfandiari

Reading Time : 4 Minutes

Original text in Farsi by Amir Esfandiari

Translated to English by Omid Armat

Silk Road Art Gallery hosted a solo show titled "Aphantasia" by Mina Boromand, the Iranian London-based artist, from February 1 to March 1, 2022. Like other recent shows at this gallery, this one was presented online.

"Aphantasia" is Mina Boromand's first solo show at Silk Road Art Gallery. She defines the process of creating her artworks based on an experimental approach in which she combines artistic mediums and presents the final result in an interdisciplinary format.

Mina Boroomand | Untitled | 2021

The show includes a short video of one and a half-minute duration which is made of an arrangement of Boromand's works that consist of multiple photographs on which the artist has added several other layers. A special audio installation accompanies the video. Every piece is displayed separately on the gallery's website. The works of the "Aphantasia" collection are defined along with the statement written by the artist.

Boromand regards "Aphantasia" as a project for investigating a total lack of mental images in her mind. The word Aphantasia is derived from the ancient Greek word "Phantasia," which means imagination. Over the years, the word Aphantasia has been used to refer to a type of mental disorder in which the mind loses its ability to create mental images. The artist describes the process of creating her artworks in the statement:

"I started this project with no specific intention about its end. So I let my subconscious lead me to the unknown. The displayed pictures are symbols of my emotional attachment to my memory."

Most of the photographs included in the "Aphantasia" video seem personal. They present a portrait of an unfamiliar character, a man from behind, a mountain, huge and tall trees, etc. Other unfamiliar images tend toward abstract works. The artist has also made some changes to the pictures. She has used methods such as scratching the photos, writing letters and words in Persian, preventing some parts of the images from being seen, and drawing specific shapes on them. Sometimes she has used one single photograph several times and in different ways. For instance, she has used an image of interwoven trees in similar frames while applying changes in each of them using geometric patterns and letters that have entirely replaced the trees in the next versions of the image. The video comprises photographs, paintings, and the artist's recorded voice that expresses some words in a musical tone.

Mina Boroomand | Untitled | 2019


To create the "Aphantasia" series, the artist placed herself between the images she had captured before and let the unplanned occurrences accompany the creation process. In other words, here, pictures are considered as memories and then are used as a platform for making changes. But the question is whether what is formed here makes a link to personal memories or turns into an image among other images. Aphantasia is presented, on the one hand, as a very personal and impenetrable series, but on the other hand, it is an adventure in photographs that results in creating images based on other familiar or unfamiliar pictures to the viewer. This may either accord with the project's objectives or act against them.

The artist and her "Aphantasia" are engaged in a confusing journey that its continuation doesn't add anything to it and is even forgotten while going over the images.