An Index of Undesirable Elements

La galleria Tiziana Di Caro ospita la prima mostra personale in Italia di Shadi Harouni (Hamedan, Iran, 1985, vive e lavora a New York), intitolata An Index of Undesirable Elements (Un indice di elementi indesiderati), che inaugura sabato 25 marzo, 2017 alle ore 19:00, nella sede della galleria a Napoli in Piazzetta Nilo, 7.

Nel suo lavoro Shadi Harouni utilizza diversi mezzi, la scultura, il video, l'incisione, la scrittura, la fotografia. I temi che sviluppa sono radicati nella storia dell'Iran, suo paese di origine; spesso si serve della parola per connettere questa storia con una esperienza universale legata alla perdita, alla repressione, alla guarigione e all'audacia. Il suo lavoro riguarda la politica dello spazio e dello sguardo, e la tensione tra l'atto di rivelare e quello di occultare. Spesso evoca la relazione tra la pienezza e le cavità, la tensione a nascondere e il desiderio di rivelare.

An Index of Undesirable Elements (Un indice di elementi indesiderati) si apre con una scritta al neon non funzionante. L'opera rievoca un'insegna dimenticata, relativa ad un negozio di una città di provincia in Iran. Scritta in Farsi, essa cita il nome del popolare Primo Ministro iraniano, Mosadegh, un simbolo di speranza e progresso, spodestato nel 1953 attraverso un colpo di stato organizzato per volontà dei servizi segreti americani e britannici. La scritta però non è totalmente illuminata e la luce evidenzia solo una parte del nome, ovvero la desinenza "degh" che in Farsi significa morto di strazio.

La mostra continua con una serie di cinque monotipi, selezionati da una più ampia serie. Le forme astratte ed eteree pressate sulla carta sono radicate in eventi e documenti d'archivio iraniani. Evocano racconti e persone, così come ambienti, paesaggi, monumenti. Rimandano alla storia di oggetti segreti creati per rievocare ciò che non c'è più. Ognuna è accompagnata da un testo scritto in prima persona, che funziona sia come narrazione che come commentario. Qui, il peso della politica è mescolato col poetico, facendo emergere toccanti temi, alla base dei quali troviamo un tentativo persistente di cancellare la storia, scansare il progresso, impedire il ricordo.

Un elemento scultoreo situato sul pavimento ci conduce nell'ultima sala dove è proiettato il video "I Dream the Mountain is Still Whole". Ambientato nell'isolato paesaggio di una cava nelle montagne del Kurdistan, il video mostra la narrazione in prima persona di un uomo che si impone come figura di resistenza politica dei valori degli individui emarginati dalla società. La natura monumentale di questo lavoro contrasta con un altro presentato come una miniatura. Qui il pretesto della narrazione è un'assurda partita di calcio giocata nel deserto roccioso, per la quale l'artista stessa si presta come raccattapalle. La presenza di questa donna sulla scena diventa esilarante, dal momento che i giocatori sono al contempo divertiti e imbarazzati dalla sua faticosa performance. La leggerezza del gioco smorza la rassegnazione dei protagonisti del progetto, che sono costretti a vivere in esilio, privati della loro vera vita, al fine di sopravvivere per rimanerne i testimoni.

 

Installation view

Artworks displayed

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Shadi Harouni

MOSADEGH Reza Nik was a shoemaker in Hamedan. A few days after the Revolution, he changed the name of his little shop to Mosadeqh, the name of the first elected prime minister of Iran, deposed in a CIA coup. He installed a neon sign with the namefour connected letters that in Farsi, reads as MSDQ. In a month or so, the new authorities ordered him to change the name. He had the first letter taken out, and now the shop was called Sedqh, which means truth. After a few years, the light in the S went out too. His shops new name was Deqhwhich means death by heartbreak. He let this new title stand,
2017,
insegna in plexiglass, luce al led,
cm 40 x 100 x 7

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Shadi Harouni

When they began to execute the enemies of religion the Leftists, or the atheists, or even the Islamists who strayed from the official paththe hardliners faced the problem of where to bury the bodies. In the beginning, the bodies were buried in the main cemetery of the city. But the pious claimed that the infidels threatened the peace of their martyrs souls. So a Fatwa was passed, and in my city, Rasht, where the infidel had died in strong numbers, the authorities received a permit to remove the undesirable elements to a far corner, away from the others. A grave here, a grave there was dug up and pushed to the cornerlittle, inconspicuous empty spots. Except for where the three Ahmadi brothers and two of their cousins had been buried next to one another, all killed on the same night, in the same prison. There was then a large, empty hole. At night, it was rumored, someone had brought in a little monument and placed it there. In a few days, the authorities removed it. No one had taken a picture, no one seemed to know what it looked like, or who had placed it there,
2017,
monotipo su carta platino, serigrafia su cornice di legno,
cm 143 x 87 x 5

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Shadi Harouni

My father was there when Dr. Mosaddeq was buried in a room in his own home in Ahmadabad. The old prime minister had asked to be laid to rest with the people who had died defending his elected government. The secret police wouldn't have it, and so Mosaddeq's friends and family brought the body back to his house, washed it, and placed it in a grave they dug in one of the rooms. My father was a young villager from Ahmadabad, come to pay his last respects. He helped dig the grave, then helped line it with bricks to make sure the body would remain intact until such time as it could be moved to a proper burial place. Thirty years and a revolution later, I went with dad to Ahmadabad to visit the tombeven the new government wouldn't allow it to be moved to a real cemetery. There was a guard at the door, a young conscript soldier, and he barred our entrance and got a little nasty when my father insisted.Ive tried often since, but I've never been allowed in,
2017,
monotipo su carta platino, serigrafia su cornice di legno,
cm 143 x 87 x 5

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Shadi Harouni

The Bahi cemetery in Tehran was next to the Jewish cemetery, where my father is buried. Where the Bahi graves used to be, there is now what they call a cultural center. The government excavated the Bahi graves. Years of grave digging had weakened the soil, so they had to dig especially deep. The stones were broken and, along with the rest of what was removed from the land, poured into the foundations of the highway that was being constructed nearby. My fathers grave in the Jewish cemetery is at the Western-most corner, where all of those who died of unnatural causes are buried. When we stand by his grave, its usually to the roar of the busy highway and the sound of cheap disco music coming from the cultural center next door,
2017,
monotipo su carta platino, serigrafia su cornice di legno,
cm 143 x 87 x 5

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Shadi Harouni

The mass graves where the government buried the victims of the prison massacres were shallow. In the early years, after a heavy rain, faces stared out of the arid Khavaran hillside. The regime has never acknowledged the thousands of political prisoners buried at Khavaran. But the families have gathered there every year, risking arrest and abuse, to mark the land with makeshift monuments. In 2009, the authorities ordered trees to be planted there, no doubt, in an attempt to remove the markers of a disturbing history. The state employees, however, had not counted on the graves being so shallow. As the bulldozers turned the earth, once again, the bodies surfaced. Bones and clothes poured out of the land and lay in piles. Everyone, including the workers, were upset. The bodies were pushed back into the land or removedwe couldnt quite tell. But we still gather there every year, just before the New Year breaks,
2017,
monotipo su carta platino, serigrafia su cornice di legno,
cm 143 x 87 x 5

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Shadi Harouni

The grave of the Sufi in Kermanshah, a minor shrine of sort for the third generation of his students, was paved over in 2010. It was an overnight job, and no one had felt the need to remove the knickknacks inside the little shack that covered the grave. When I went there a year later, the tiny rug that lay at its entrance had been swallowed by the pavement,
2017,
scultura, malta, argilla, foto digitale su chiffon di seta,
cm 160 x 120 x 12

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Shadi Harouni

I Dream the Mountain is Still Whole,
2017,
HD video,17'06'',
ed. 5 + 2 PA

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Shadi Harouni

Unnamed Mountain,
2017,
c – print digitale,
cm 50 x 75,
ed. 3 + PA

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Shadi Harouni

I Long for a Game of Football,
2017,
HD video, 18'50'',
ed. 5 + 2 AP

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