The last two weeks were full of adventures in and out of grounds for sculpture. Visiting Johnson Atelier, and digital Atelier where they make big sculptures, having an artist talk, studio visits and etc.
The most exciting adventure though was visiting Mana contemporary in Jersey City. One of the largest contemporary art organizations in US, as the tour leader said, in a renovated tobacco company with gorgeous metal doors and amazing art collection bringing together performers and visual artists under the same roof of a unique architecture. Where we had the chance to visit amazing artist Gina Miccinilli and Olga Alexander, artist residence in Mana as well as checking out Contemporary Iranian artist show.One of the highlight of these two weeks was Tom Moran, the chief curator. We had a field trip to stones yards around Hamilton, as well as a great studio visit. He is the guy of great questions.
Having conversation with Tom, made me think a lot about what I call studio practice. I realized my studio practice does not happen inside the studio, but my work emerges from my conversation with others, by my surrounding and the events I experience. I hope one day I can give such a studio visit to others. To have good questions and be able to talk with other artists from their point of view.
About my work process, after having a weeks of hassle to ship two airplane wings to sculpture park, I finally gave up and moved on from that idea. I continued the horizon drawing which I mentioned in the last post. Using different materials for drawing such as wood and soldering was interesting. I especially like the soldering material since it has been used for making connection, to flow into a joint and to fill a gap.
spending time with Shawn in a small but great library in ground for sculpture, I continued working on the tree immigration of grounds for sculpture. At the same time, I was adding to the list of missing things in the park. These two ideas met each other when with the help of Mike Strengari, I found the trees that have been removed from the park, but the root is still in the earth. My new project is casting a concert frame around the root with removing the soil and casting a concrete frame in a section of the root.
Searching for the horizon line under the earth instead of above the earth reminded me of this poem which was one of my prompt one day.
“Eyes should be washed, to see things in a different way” – Sohrab Sepehri
Also having access to sculpture magazine in library made me to start another project which hopefully will travel to Iran. To introduce you a little bit to negative part of publication in Iran, all the books have to get permission from what we call Guidance ministry. For foreign books and magazine thought, since there are already pictures of women, the Islamic dressing code is forced with inking out the female body and their hair. There is a recent social campaign opposing to enforcement of Islamic dressing code called White Wednesday, in which women and sometimes men wear white head scarf to show their opposition with this law. My project is to donate a series of sculpture magazine to the biggest academic library in Iran following all the rules for censoring women’s body. I will ink out all the pictures that do not follow the Islamic dress code in sculpture magazine, the same way Guidance ministry does it. But also draw the white headscarf on them to represent the opposition voice that has been always suppressed.
I am thinking what does it mean to have the opposition voice that does not get any media coverage inside Iran, in the heart of an institution which is representative of the power structure. What does it mean to use the same censorship act but to shed a light to the opposite idea? Not to mention that figurative sculpture is in fact forbidden in Islam.
As scattered minded as I am, my works also follow in different direction. The other thing that I am working on, is geometric mirror mosaic work. One of those things it is always the back of my brain shouting to be made. I am experimenting with mirrors in a golden environment.
I feel more than anything else, this residency put some seeds in my mind which is not a thing that happens so often in my life. I feel so honored to be here and be surrounded by all these creative people. Many thanks to International sculpture center, Grounds for sculpture and specially UMN school of art for all their generous support that made it possible for me to be here and having such a valuable experience.
Till the next post, bye.
Nooshin Hakim Javadi