20 May - 6 Jun, 2022
Bare life is the subject of Ahmad Morshedloo's drawings and paintings thoughout these barren years, an attempt in displaying the burden of a lifetime in one moment or in the smallest gesture. As Agamben puts it, “each man, is given over forever to his smallest, most everyday gesture. And yet ... that gesture is now charged with the weight of an entire life; that insignificant or even silly moment collects and condenses in itself the meaning of an entire existence.” (1) This moment and this condensation is indebted to reaching bare life, a life of the body that has uniquely been able to reveal the meaning of its existence in a gesture. Serene bodies, worn-out as if totally consumed to the extent that the only thing they've got is their bare life. Where this exhaustion, undermining physical and mental vigor, has drained the individuals' vitality and zest for life, Morshedloo has astoundingly been able to get close to their bare life and to enliven their real being. Thus, the attempt to reveal through "bare life” is the major theme of Morshedloo's works.///
It is to achieve this revelation that Morshedloo brings everything - even the past and history - to the threshold, the threshold of exhaustion. He keeps his intricately patterned edifices like rusty objects in the background with which a maiden is taking a selfie or beside the grandeur of which a horse is trotting or a cat is staring at the viewer. That's why, in Moreshedloo's drawings and paintings, objects bounce and become suspended, even dream and death. That's why he gathers unresponsive masses with heavy eyelids beside the limp legs hanging from the gallows, or brings many faces to the edge of the frame, faces with frail bodies on the threshold of surrendering to their own moment, living yet soulless faces whose bodies resist any life-giving force. Yet, they are absolutely clear with us and with themselves. This shocking ingenuousness and candidness is indebted to the utter passivity of people and things in Morshedloo's works. It is this revelation that makes the viewer responsible, responsible for their names. They demand their lost names from us. Just like looking at the photographs of anonymous people, “that person and that face demand their name; they demand not to be forgotten ... perfectly express[ing] the exigency that animates every photograph and grasps the real that is always in the process of being lost, in order to render it possible once again.” (2) This exigency always remains with the bare life of people and things in the Morshedloo's work 'cause they are facing us, helpless yet in a new life, intensely vulnerable yet with their bare life.
Mohamad Parvizi Translated by Parisa Hakim Javadi (1) Agamben, Giorgio. Profanations, translated into English by Jeff Fort, New York: Zone Books, 2007, p. 24. (2) Profanations, pp. 27-25.
Read More: From the Patterns of Golestan Palace Tiles to the Bare Lives of Passive Bodies
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