During our visit to Art Dubai we met with leading Iranian surrealists Nicky Nojoumi and curator and artist Taraneh Hemami.
As a person, Nodjoumi is seriously cool and down to earth. This trait surfaces in his paintings mainly in the calm manner in which he exercises his own unique way of approaching a subject matter. From an early stage Nodjoumi was exploring ways of expressing himself, diverging from the path taken by many a Middle Eastern artist and instead embracing the techniques extolled by iconic surrealists and expanding them into his own style. Since the 70s Nodjoumi was in New York, but only since 2003 has he been exhibiting his imagined jigsaws of human/animals and exploring the haunting, featureless arena of his imaginary landscapes. The jigsaw, Nodjoumi states, is a direct reference to the body blown apart by war, as seen in Baghdad American-Iraq War of 2003. Oftentimes Nodjoumi will bring into the composition the absurd, creating a kind of satire in all that stillness – where actions seems stinted and the tones suggest a kind of dull surrender – of an intriguing, sometimes complicated set up.
Hemami on the other hand is known to explore the complexities of the cultural sensitivity of exile, via both personal and collective projects and installations. She is also based in the US, in California, and was also born in Iran as was Nodjoumi. Through her multi-disciplinary work she explores the nature of perception, recognition, and representation, topics all Iranians abroad have to consider at one point in their lives. Pictured right, her porcelain tears, marked with words and hanging disembodied in the darkness, represent a similar harm inflicted to that on Nodjoumi’s mind, but rather than confrontational it is in an empathetic, regretful and conceptual manner. We also hear extracts of a talk given by Hemami on an ongoing history group project.
The show will air Monday 16th at 13.30 GMT and repeat the following Sunday at 20.30. If you are abroad catch it live on www.resonancefm.com/listen