A Review of Zhoobin Mireskandari's Online Show at Silk Road Art Gallery18 Jun 2022
Original text in Farsi by Amir Esfandiari
Translated to English by Omid Armat
From January 1 to February 1, 2022, Silk Road Art Gallery hosted an exhibition of photographs by Zhoobin Mireskandari titled "Scenes Not Thoroughly Seen." Mireskandari (b. 1979) has previously experimented with media like painting and photography, and his works have been displayed in several solo and group shows. "Scenes Not Thoroughly Seen" is the result of his most recent experiences.
The show comprises fifteen photographs with an attached text by Behzad Hatam. Being in a cold snowy place is what all the photos in this show have in common as a feature that repeats itself along with the photographs' low-contrast visual latitude. These are wide photographs of similar places; it seems the photographer has captured them from a long distance (maybe somewhere safe from chaos.)
The online show makes the photographs seem even closer to each other; therefore, the viewer assumes the same size, ambient light, and position for all of them. In other words, there is a minimal visual distinction between the photos, thus creating visual integrity throughout the show. On the other hand, the viewer can see all the photographs simultaneously. Once the viewer sees all the pictures, their differences become even less apparent.
These visual similarities necessitate deep contemplation. With the heavy snow in the pictures, what viewers can see is limited to trees covered in snow, pathways, stairs, walls, and sometimes passersby, whom we don't know anything about and can't get close to them. There is also a set of photographs of a single location in which a few elements are changed. All the visible details are shrouded by snow and the low contrast. This may be the main objective of the series and can also be considered a disruption in the process of seeing. Hatam has interpreted it as "not to see" and believes it relates to the sfumato painting technique.
The "disruption in vision" mentioned above is made by using low contrasts, locations covered in heavy snow, and long shots containing a wide area. This has led to a mysterious atmosphere which tends to create ambiguities in the images and what happened within them. As mentioned above, the photographs are very similar; some locations are photographed from a single view several times. The ambiguity appears as if something has happened; the pictures are not captured right at the moment of the incident, but either before or after it. It prevents us from understanding and deciding. Therefore, the viewer is unable to form a judgment and gets lost in the mysterious space, where the photographer himself may have gotten lost because of looking at it for a long time. "Scenes Not Thoroughly Seen" results from Mireskandari's different experiences and makes the viewers try to see or try not to see, while it prevents them from making clear decisions.