2012-04-20 to 2012-03-01
What kind of reaction should the viewer have to Ibrahim Haghighi “still lives”?
Haghighi attempts to get closer to the “still life” paintings of the Renaissance era and to find similarities near and distant, with the post-Medieval ages in order to see what reaction he can invoke in the audience. In reality, his photographic narrative in this particular selection is evident and defies any explanation. However, the important question remains that in these times of violence, when the Iranian society has come face to face with the ugliness of aggression, that has penetrated different levels of the communities, what can an artist do to help the society?
On the other hand, aren’t photographs of severed animal heads that the photographer ordered from the butcher an act of violence that transforms Ibrahim Haghighi’s role from an artist to an executor and a portrayer of violence? Artist shows an ugly scenario, something that we must avoid, an unavoidable reality that we are exposed to anyhow, and at times we even becomes players in such dramas.
In Ibrahim Haghighi’s “still life” images, the layout and symbols are in obvious conflict with what we have come to comprehend of this specific philosophy in Renaissance art. Artists of the era derived inspiration from fruits, food, and objects and hunted animals . Such artists were able to freely create and harvest their talents, delivering beautiful works, which despite absence of direct signs of violence and aggression, depicted the act of Hunting. For these artists the foreground was just as important as the background and they did not shy away from this fact.
Similarly, Ibrahim Haghighi has approached “still life” in same manner, in that the foreground displayed in his work, although seemingly simple and inconsequential is in fact worthy of attention. Even though the background and lighting accurately convey his message, he consciously directs our attention to the foreground, where we are faced with a perceptively created layout and lighting, which is in contrast with the background, thus resulting in the work having a dual meaning. This poetically violent images are not unlike the real images experienced in our present society. Without a doubt, if these images included bowls of fruit or seasonal flowers, the poetry of the work would be vulgar, but with the present arrangement, the artist’s poeticism depicts a violence that is the paradox of our time and even shows our role in promoting this violence, a fact that is utterly undeniable. Finally, it is his fascination with the history of art and the influence he gained from it that makes his work thought provoking and appealing.
Mahmoud Reza Bahmanpour