Beneath and Above: Parisa Davoudi's Exhibition12 Jan 2022
Original text in Farsi by Amir Esfandiari
Translated to English by Omid Armat
"Beneath and Above" is the title of a solo show by Parisa Davoudi, held at 009821 Projects from October 22 to November 3, 2021. The show includes a series of photographs – taken in the current location of Razi park – and their reproductions. Additionally, a book is introduced in this show which includes photographs, and articles about them. These photographs are captured with instant and small format cameras. They are presented individually or in arrangements of four photographs next to each other in a single frame.
Davoudi has photographed Razi park which was built on the ruins of Shahr-e No. These photos display areas and objects in and around the park, such as an abandoned carousel, trees, ground, separate letters of murals, etc., which have been rendered cold and lifeless with the flashlight. Among the recorded places, the amusement park is prominently noticeable.
"Beneath and Above" studies the nature of place, and investigates the power's forceful and deterministic confrontation with the place in order to eliminate its nature, which has been formed through the history. So this series observes the alterations made to the use of a place through different periods. Changes in thoughts and beliefs may cause them to come into conflict with what exists in a place, and therefore may lead to elimination, concealing, or any other type of alteration of that place. This is what "Beneath and Above" is focused on.
Changing the nature and use of a place cannot fully delete its background and what it has been before. The remains of the previous state will become apparent from behind the covers and will create a new atmosphere. The place which is photographed in this series is not just the Razi park. Gaps are visible all over the place; they cannot be destroyed and will eventually show themselves to sensitive eyes. So "Beneath and Above" traces these gaps and follow them. Discovering the remains cannot be done in a constant, direct path. They are concealed between letters, structures, sounds, and all the things that are conventionally visible. By finding evidence, the series intends to divulge and display the hidden things. The photographer, armed with an instant camera, quickly recorded the pieces of evidence that she found.
The cold quality of the series and the distance between the photographer and photographed objects have made the work tend to comply with Deadpan photography approaches. This way, the place which is known as Razi park, is now changed in nature to an unknown, empty, abandoned place devoid of any temporal properties. So residues of the past rise from the ruins and empty the current place from its current condition. The photographer uses an instant camera to speed up the process. These cameras cannot record many details and they also decrease the intensity and clarity of the colors. On the other hand, it is a normal practice to use a flashlight in most ambient light conditions in order to record images with better quality and to prevent underexposure. All these factors have altogether led to the representation of a cold space which seems to be a non-place and non-time.
In conclusion, the "Beneath and Above" exhibition is an unfinished study of the nature of place with regard to power; this place extends beyond where the artist has decided to photograph. So the series may enter other places and continue exploring.