Arash Hanaei: Cyclothymia of a Land

Saturday October 3, 2015 – Wednesday October 28, 2015

Arash Hanaei’s Cyclothymia of a Land/Free Adaptation: Landscape/Mountainan is not a single artwork per se, executed once and for all, but, as the title implies, is a “cycle” of research, taking various forms and adapting to different venues and exhibitions. Dealing broadly with issues of contemporary geopolitics, landscape allegories and the jeopardising of social experience in a digital world, this work-in-progress signals an attitude that is increasingly engrained in the artist’s practice: the constant weakening of his ties with the short-term expectations and temporalities of a marketed art scene. The work reveals itself piece by piece, as a nomadic puzzle with its own ecological process, submitted to change, transposition and acclimatisation. Entailing as it does a certain degree of contingency (or delayed presence) in its reach for visibility and public presentation, the work openly takes the risk – addressed to the spectator – of allowing for aporia and an unfinished state. This is already a clue to Hanaei’s response to the issue of the production of art in our present state of global crisis, in which conflict, exodus and general distrust have become common currency.    
The current manifestation of Cyclothymia of a Land/Free Adaptation: Landscape/Mountainan at Ag Galerie is anything but a simple image, in spite of its almost monolithic stature and apparent oneness. In terms of the media used, heterogeneous qualities of space and formal devices seem to combine and freeze in front of us: the ideas of a computer screen and pop-up windows overlap with the illusionist window in classical landscape painting. One could describe this fictitious image as a visual palimpsest or a layered field for a fragmented and delayed vision: to the attentive eye, something to be seen or witnessed has been decentred in favour of unexpected apparitions and forgotten landscapes. Vision as a dismembered sense has been reincorporated into the falsely random and objective act of seeing. Physical absence and asubjective temperature within the image (or skeleton of an image) stress the spectator’s stable instability.
The wires, cables, motors, spotlights, scaffolding, network continuums, zigzagging tubes and aerial pipes are all signs of a near-death experience, on the edge of rationality, in a postmodern but already vanishing world. These mechanical and electrical devices play the role of ancient ruins and relics from a remote past in our digital, dematerialised visual environment. Communication technologies and cybernetics (from the invention of the vapour train to that of computer systems) embodied something common to any “modern” experience. Today’s condition seems closer to a phenomenological bunker where data and experiences accumulate at unprecedented, non-human rates (eventually and remotely relying on unmapped sites and data centres filled with wires, cables, tubes and titanic hard disks). Giving birth to a phenomenon we could call cyclothymic global consciousness or a cyclical disease in the representation of reality, this condition subjects us to uninterrupted micro-gaps between hyperrealism and blurred lines, euphoria and depression, spotlights and black spots.
If a non-human landscape somehow ends in a non-human language, it does not mean that interiorising software’s powers of calculation will save us from a soft war whose transparent backdrop might be any imperceptible landscape.


– Morad Montazami

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