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EISA AHMADI AMIN ROSTAMIZADEH MARC VILANOVA ALIREZA MIRZAREZAEE MOHSEN ETEMADIFAR SHABNAM MOTTAGHI CARLIE SHERRY ESTHER EIGNER LILLIAN ABEL

ART

Look Photography 2014 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127941896


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Marc Vilanova

Eisa Ahmadi

Mohsen Etemadifar

Shabnam Mottaghi

LIllian Abel

Alireza Mirzarezaee

Spain

Iran

Iran

Iran

USA

Iran

Active as a performer in many art forms, including electroacoustic music, free improvisation, contemporary repertoire and collaborations with dancers, saxophonist Marc Vilanova’s work is focused on the exploration of the instrument, as well as ongoing research into new sounds, techniques and expressions connected with technology and other arts. His works have been presented in many festivals around the world including countries like Japan, USA, Canada, Brazil, Taiwan, Russia and many more within Europe.He is also running several workshops of extended techniques and live electronics that had been performed at the Tokyo National University, MIT Saxophone Ensemble in Taipei, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Saxophone Academy in São Paulo and other universities within Europe like Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Royal Academy of Music Aarhus or Hochschule für Musik Basel.

Ahmadi's method of creating his works is a combination of traditional craftsmanship, modern sculpture and contemporary line sculpture, stamping upon them his personal touch to give his works a tactile and mystical feel. From a conceptual point of view, he approaches art in a poetic manner and has close ties with Persian literature, and the juxtaposition of animals like deer and butterflies with the word love testifies to this close affinity.

The world is full of conventional and unconventional things that seem are not detachable from each other. Each element is associated with another element and every person to person. And I am in the world, looking for unusual and I've taken a step ... Contemporary Photographic Art has always been accompanied by a fundamental and challenging question. In my opinion, we definitely cannot say that what contemporary photography is and how it is shaped. Because we see the art of photography is changing day by day and turns into a post photo. Someone who holds the camera cannot necessarily do contemporary photography. He should know the basics of photography, spend time with them and then think about making contemporary art.

Creating always excites me. It is like riding on waves by which I can travel far to many dream worlds beyond my imagination. Worlds that sometimes can be only a “wish”, sometimes an “if only”, sometimes an “alas” and sometimes an “unreachable dream”. When I was a child, I used to fly with pelicans drawn by my father. In my dreams, they led me to see, see and see more of people lives, homes, towns, … That’s why people became my painting main subjects as the nature of their existence fills my thoughts. In my paintings, I simply define people with lines, colors and layers, people made of rain, sun, clouds, stone, air, iron and flowers. For visual expression of my feelings and thoughts, I have benefited from various tools, materials and techniques in different periods of my works.I imagine if every human being is like an amazing book, my paintings are like a book; a window of me to the world for the fans, as one of the many books in the universe.

The paintings are an exploration of the space between abstraction and representation. They are abstracted by the palette knife, searching for hidden worlds and images in the paint that reveal on the picture plane.

The first impression, looking into my paintings is my ability and efforts in creating a stable and steady composition. My painting world offers poetic and dreamy environment while strongly resists sentimentalism and fleeting emotionalism and keep its distance from falling into a purely romantic and thoughtless state. Visual rhythms and formal swings are the most important features in my paintings composition. In this process, something like the futurist behavior with figure is formed and an alternate movement possesses the canvas and the viewer's eye. Objects and figures are in distance, taken away, they are flying or are seen in a colorful outer space. In creating my paintings, I benefit from an applicable exciting visual expressive language and line orientation and forms are more important than coloring.

A further manifestation of his affinity with Persian literature is the concept of love, a recurring concept in this literature, which is been given a central place in his works, where the direct use of this word is a common motif.

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They need to be uncovered, stroked, massaged and moved onto the surface, brought up from where they are hiding; surprising me with their ability to come forth when called by my hand. Revealing the recognized of our ‘world sight’ as unrecognizable, opening the eye of the witness to the coalescence of fierceness and delicacy in Nature.


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lives and works in Teheran, Iran

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Eisa Ahmadi lives and works in Damavand, Iran

Marc Vilanova

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lives and works in Barcelona, Spain

Amin Rostamizadeh

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lives and works in Kerman, Iran

Shabnam Mottaghi

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lives and works in Columbus, Ohio, USA

Alireza Mirzarezaee Amin Rostamizadeh

Esther Eigner

Carlie Sherry

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Austria

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These pieces are about women, whom through history have always been attacked on the basis of conditions prevailing in society. The women in my paintings, vulnerable to such assaults, are married by this violence. But these scars are deeper than the skin.

Every painting is deeply influenced by my feelings. The range of my works or “palette” depends on the topic of the painting. But basically I use pastel and dim colors for my works. That is why I like egg tempera, pastel-pencils or my own “plant colors”. My style and the colors I use changed over time, when I was young I used more powerful colors. I take my inspiration from everyday life. Sometimes it happens by accident, while hearing the lyrics of a song, being in a special mood. I can be inspired by a flower, works from another artist, or anything else. For instance, in “Ways of Color” my source of inspiration was the way I had to follow to find the right plants to produce my colors.

Dichotomies exist within my own histories, creating tensions between my religion and my body. I am empowered by my femininity—yet remain vulnerable.From the start of my religious upbringing, Eve’s impactful story ultimately shaped unrealistic notions of purity. Perpetuating feeling shame for nakedness, temptation, and sin. Budding into a young sexual woman, this message remained contradictory in my moral consciousness. Traditions blur my reality. Expectations impeding upon my body.Here I genuflect under a system of patriarchy that tempts to shape women’s issues ile the system lacks women’s voice; a system that stifles women’s sexual wholeness and understanding of the self. As the church remains out of touch with modern life, I paint. My truth

Darkness, through this mutilation, corrupts the their clarity and purity, decaying the spirit and body. Their souls are destroyed, gradually melting – they can neither see, nor be seen. Speaking, becomes punishing. Uncaring, we remained silent. Words catch in our throat, even when faced with their visages. We see our own inadequacy, and the results of our inaction. Their faces protest, their silence speaks. Suddenly, we realize we are a part of this tragedy. We feel this pain, this objection, this gross injustice. For, they want to be seen and to be heard – that is the essence to being.

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livesand works in Tehran, Iran

Esther Eigner

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lives and works in Wien, Austria

Lillian Abel

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lives and works in Los Angeles, California, USA

Carlie Sherry

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lives and works in New York City, USA On the cover

a work by

Special thanks to Haylee Lenkey, Martin Gantman , Krzysztof Kaczmar, Joshua White, Nicolas Vionnet, Genevieve Favre Petroff, Sandra Hunter, MyLoan Dinh, John Moran, Marya Vyrra, Gemma Pepper, Michael Nelson, Hannah Hiaseen, Scarlett Bowman, Yelena York Tonoyan, Haylee Lenkey, Martin Gantman , Krzysztof Kaczmar and Robyn Ellenbogen.

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Heaven Photography 2015 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127399596


Lives and Work in Tehran, Iran


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Mohsen Etemadifar An interview by and

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I was born in 1982. I have a Bachelor of Art in Painting and learned Photography experimentally. I have taken photograph professionally for nearly 10 years. My academic training did not have much impact on my working trend. I do my work experimentally. Iranian and Persian roots sometimes appear in my work and I try to use my society norms in my work.

Since my work is based on the mental instinct, I try to etude in my mind before registering. And then I do the registration by directing it towards what I want to achieve.


Look Photography 2014 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127941896


Mohsen Etemadifar

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If I want to say something about these two photos in simple language, I would say: Since no human being is perfect and everyone is experiencing deficiencies, Man's attitude about himself seems important. In the photo “Myself” I have simulated myself to someone who is himself but no one and experiences kind of metamorphosis. He says, “I am Nobody”. The mirror opposite is devoid of anything and only reveals his existence particles. This idea began when I noticed my inner self and I realized that I have something within me. While that thing can be a superior force that has always been with us and still is.

As the Internet has got more audiences and many contemporary artists present their works with their own techniques, I'd also use this media because it has more audiences.

An artist should benefit from his experience and imagination both in order to achieve what he wants. Yet my personal opinion is that experiences are more important than ideas.


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There are always some limitations in the communities that force Man not to be what he wants to be. This type of records is not so popular in the contemporary world but it is an undeniable reality. My expectation is that freedom must be grown in restriction and I do believe that humans are not different from each other and all are equal.

People are associated with the universe whether intentionally or unintentionally. Universe always connects human to supernatural. In this work we see a man who has been seen through ancient history and is searching for a relationship with the beyond. Human components and history have always been linked together.


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Fall Photography 2016 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127135992


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Zaar Photography 2016 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127890332


Mohsen Etemadifar

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Contemporary Photographic Art has always been accompanied by a fundamental and challenging question. In my opinion, we definitely cannot say that what contemporary photography is and how it is shaped. Because we see the art of photography is changing day by day and turns into a post photo. Someone who holds the camera cannot necessarily do contemporary photography. He should know the basics of photography, spend time with them and then think about making contemporary art.

My audiences play a critical role for me and their reactions affect on my next work. Surely, responses of my audiences lead me to think what they have received from art. They sometimes refer to the points


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Myself

Silence

Photography 2014 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127219656

Photography 2013 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127605948

that I have not thought before and this is very exciting.

Currently, I have some plans for solo and group painting exhibitions in Iran and abroad that I am working on them. Besides, I’m working on an installation of Volume to display it publicly.


Blue Photography 2014 W:70.0 H:100.0 cm Mohsen Etemadifar AW127079056


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E isa Ahmadi Lives and works in Damavand, Iran

Love is a deer ascending into the sky A look into Love Series by Master Eisa Ahmadi By Maryam Roshanfekr – Nov.2016

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eason said unto Love: I rise above you in the realm of being Love replied: I excel being and existence (Khwaja Abdullah Ansari) In 1940 in the CheshmehAla neighborhood of Damavand an artist was born who brought to this city and his country beauty and love, Eisa Ahmadi is an unassuming artist who has spent a lifetime of serving art, creating notable works in painting, sculpture, architectural design and interior architecture. Throughout his life, along with producing and creating works of art, Eisa Ahmadi has assumed many jobs related to arts in the capacity of an executive. Being the founder of the first fine arts atelier in the town of Damavand called "The House of Art", he has continually been training students in this atelier and Art University of Roodehen. Eisa Ahmadi is a singular artist in his field, and shunning the artistic society and economic gains of creating art has enabled him to take the path embedded in his lived personal experience and his spiritual and mental preoccupations and aspirations. This explains why his works have managed to eschew the dominant trends in his time, taking an altogether different path. Ahmadi's method of creating his works is a combination of traditional craftsmanship, modern sculpture and contemporary line sculpture, stamping upon them his personal touch to give his works a tactile and mystical feel. From a conceptual point of view, he approaches art in a poetic manner and has close ties with Persian literature, and the juxtaposition of animals like deer and butterflies with the word love testifies to this close affinity. A further manifestation of his affinity with Persian literature is the concept of love, a recurring concept in this literature, which is been given a central

place in his works, where the direct use of this word is a common motif. Drawing on such shapes recurring in Iranian ancient art as Eslimi (arabesque) and curvilinear forms, which are fragile but possess an ascending characteristic, Eisa Ahmadi has represented his view of love, which is tender, fragile and ephemeral. In this series, he has made an attempt to recall that aspect of the world that would make love possible. What is mostly present in these works is the movement choreographed by the concept of love, that eternal dance of life which Ahmadi attempts to capture and embody in these works. His works, which have wood as their material, show with fluidity the same natural and alive feel as wood through curvilinear lines. Notwithstanding their singularity, these works have a familiar ring about them, what's more, they lay bare the inner world of the artist, and this characteristic they acquire thanks to the artist's use of Iranian wood carving. In his works, we could perceive worn out deer eager to reach the sky, climbing the fragile stem of love, there are also butterflies sitting on this stem. They are interlaced into each other like ivy, as if aspiring to unite into a single body. An image signifying that love, hailing from far reaches of the world, and embodied as a deer, is seeking the sky. Eisa Ahmadi's works aspire to intervene in a barren and immoral contemporary art scene. It is a feeling arising from beautiful human feelings becoming inaccessible and fading away from the modern world. Through these works, he slakes his thirst to see these beauties as well as presenting them to others and invites his audience to join him in feeling and reliving these fragile, familiar and conceptual curvature whose originality appears to be forgotten.


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Art creates a special feeling in me. I can hardly describe the feeling. It was like a power that encouraged me to become an artist or an energy that called me towards artistic activities. This energy is still with me and has helped me to continue so far. Its real and perceptible three-dimensional space generated a particular and specific sense in me. I felt there is less need for a three-dimensional space to be understood the by the sight. You are able to feel a three-dimensional space even with the eyes closed. In

fact, you can follow the forms through the sense of touch and enjoy. It was the sense that we can’t enjoy and communicate with. Yeah, I feel paintings are somehow more tangible.

The Energy in the wood and the warmth of this material as part of the nature harmonize with the concept that I'm trying to express it. Factually, I felt that if I want to express love, any material can no longer help me more than wood. This material actually made a significant impact on conveying the real concept as love is a fervent concept and its different versions happen constantly in nature. Moreover, the abstract motifs in the wood refer to the abstract concept of love. Also, the motifs in the wood can picture the fluidity in the works twice and the forms create extreme harmony.


Eisa Ahmadi

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Most of my works has been centralized on love and deer that in Persian culture, including literature, art, etc, have deep root and history. Love is the main idea of the most popular works of Persian art and books and countless works have been produced throughout history with this subject. Studying and considering these works had a significant impact on my work. The turning point of these effects arose via reading and pondering the works of Hafez and Rumi. Iranian painting drastically affected on the development of my style as well.

In fact, I tried to have both senses of fragility and durability simultaneously

in my work since love in my culture doesn’t have a specific and exact but an abstract meaning. Actually, love has different shapes and versions, as earthly and human to human love, that in most cases are ephemeral and temporary so the aspect of fragility should be displayed while its holy and spiritual aspect is sustainable and durable. That’s why I have tried to picture these two different and even contradictory senses together. Although there are a lot of love poems and works and many influential people such as Plato Hafez and Rumi have been a lot of discussion on this matter, I feel this concept is still maintaining the capacity of description as long as Human exists. This is factually an infinite concept. This capability attracted my attention and led me to this issue and caused me to be able to express my own understanding. In fact, I think the Man, despite all his advances, has not yet managed to achieve the proper sense of the word and must still traverse a long way to reach this concept.


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Normal aspect of these works originated from this matter that, in any case, most people have fallen in love once in their lifetime. A special experience that they always remember until the end of life. Sense of being the best has been caused from the combination of personal attitude and experience of love with several-thousand-year culture with philosophical roots. That’s why we experience both ordinary and extraordinary senses simultaneously. Actually, I invite the viewer to observe my understandings which are influenced by my studies and experiences (one of these experiences is familiarity with different views and approaches of poets like Hafez and Rumi). However, the viewer unconsciously add his own experiences and feelings to this symphony. It should be noted that none of these sensations become predominant over another.

Well, actually both self-awareness and unawareness are mixed in my works. My ultimate goal is to produce a work that can create a good feeling in myself first and then in the viewer and convey the concept about which I thought as best as possible.

From L.O.V.E Series, Sculpture, Wood Carving, 2015 W:50.0 H:140.0 D:15.0 cm


Eisa Ahmadi

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I think although contemporary art is at a good level in terms of technique and creativity, it is often empty of meaning and morality. In fact, the form preponderates over the concept. But I try to extend the form at the disposal of the concept. So, I walk my own path while admiring the beautiful forms. Even though I am not inspired by any particular artist, in specific techniques I use for deepening my works, I have tried to take advantage of Iranian painting patterns. Works with shallow depth and generally flat.

Sharing information with trainees caused my ideas to be mature. Moreover, repetition of techniques and principles in teaching, in fact, was a kind of exercise for me. From L.O.V.E Series, Sculpture, Wood Carving, 2015 W:50.0 H:147.0 D:30.0 cm


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In my opinion, natural and beautiful feelings of people are being forgotten gradually and false senses and needs made by human and civilizations throughout history have been replaced instead. Creating beautiful and enjoyable feelings in the viewers is one of the most important goals of mine. Beautiful feelings that people can remember while facing real and inner needs. In fact, our world is full of events that are inflicting pain and bring to the attention of the people like war, poverty and soon. Therefore, people need to feel true peace more than ever and can communicate with their beautiful, spiritual concepts and innermost feelings. I did my best to deal with the feelings of my viewers and cuddle and pacify them by my works. I have a picture of the future in my mind which is a good demonstration of my work in a gallery and a successful exhibition.

My goal is creating the works of art. I entrust the future to the future. When I create a work, I actually achieve one of my goals and aspirations. This is part of my future. Of course, I hope to produce more attractive and accurate works.

From L.O.V.E Series, Sculpture, Wood Carving, 2015 W:26.0 H:176.0 D:14 cm


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From L.O.V.E Series, Sculpture, Wood Carving, 2015

From L.O.V.E Series, Sculpture, Wood Carving, 2015

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Marc Vilanova An interview by and

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Saxophonist and crossdisciplinary artist Marc Villanova's work is centered on a multilayered investigation about the expressive potential of the instrument to trigger the viewers' perceptual parameters in order to rethink to the elusive notion of sound. In his that we'll be discussing in the following pages he accomplishes an insightful musical experience marked out with a consistent unity. One of the most convincing aspect of Villanova's practice is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of opening new sound spaces that invite the audience on an inner voyage: we are very pleased to introduce our readers to his multifaceted artistic production. Hello Marc and welcome to ARTiculAction: to start this interview, would you like to tell us something about your background? You have a solid formal training and after having earned your Degree in Musicology and in Contemporary Saxophone, you nurtured your education with a Postgraduate Degree in Sound Art and a Master Degree in Free Improvisation at the Hocschule fĂźr Musik Basel. Besides your studies that you have carried in several countries, you also participated to several workshops: how do these experiences influence your evolution as an artist? And in particular, does your cultural substratum inform the way you relate yourself to the aesthetic problem?


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Yes, I have been always connected to the academy. For me universities are great in terms of network, facilities and opportunities. It’s a good way to get a space to work, equipment to experiment with, people to collaborate and teachers that will support you. In addition, I try to be as independent as I can from traditional educational structure. I find inspiration and creativity beyond the boundaries of university training. I prefer to think of the university as a tool to accomplish my work. The workshops are less formal and they extend my network of fellow artists and opportunities, but the art itself comes from the experience of life, personal interactions and collaborations with fellow artists, and travels. About the “cultural substratum” I would say that I come from a small village in Catalonia. Our history expresses a pride in innovative attitudes. I believe this history influences my relationship to music. The progressive, experimental, nontraditional dynamic of my music emerges from my cultural history. Using your instrument as a starting point for your creative journey, your approach coherently encapsulates both performative feature and sound installation and reveals an incessant search of an organic symbiosis between a variety of viewpoints. The results convey together a coherent and consistent sense of harmony and unity. Before starting to elaborate about your production, we would suggest to our readers to visit http://www.marcvilanova.com in order to get a synoptic view of your multifaceted artistic production: while walking our readers through your process, we would like to ask you if you have you ever happened to realize that a symbiosis between different approaches is the only

way to express and convey the idea you explore. I don´t think of a concert as only something where you close your eyes and just listen. I think today people are used to stimuli from multiple sources, and to fully experience what I want to convey, I have to use a variety of sources that stimulate multiple senses. I would not be


Marc Vilanova

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communicating my ideas fully if my performance was one-dimensional. For this special edition of we have selected , a recent work that our readers have already started to get to know in the introductory pages of this article. What has at once caught our attention of

your inquiry into the range of new sounds is the way it accomplishes the difficult task of establishing a channel of communication between the subconscious sphere and the conscious one, to unveil and challenge the manifold nature of human perceptual categories. So while asking you to walk us through the of this work, we


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would take this occasion to ask you if in your opinion personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process... Do you think that a creative process could be disconnected from direct experience? Never. My experience directly impacts both what I create and how I perform it.

For example, I have lived in Helsinki and Basel, Switzerland, cities where I don´t know the language. When you cannot understand a language, you are able to hear the sound of syllables as they are pronounced, but as soon as you understand the language, your focus shifts to decoding meaning. My musical decisions are also inspired by this early focus


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As you have remarked once,

: how would you describe the relationship between Tradition and experimentation in Contemporary music? Do you think there's still a dichotomy between such apparently different aspects of producing and even conceiving music? I think that because of the way music is taught in schools, your foundation is in either classical or jazz performance. And then, you are committed to one tradition, because jazz and classical are kept very separate. One benefit of free improvisation is that it bridges the gap between these two schools. Conservatories and music academies are very slow institutions in terms of including experimentation within their programmes. I think that experimentation and contemporary approaches can also be helpful in connecting music with other art forms and being part of bigger network.

on the sounds of the language. Experimentation with extended techniques emerges from this deep thinking about these sounds, some of which are not typically associated with the saxophone. The audience as well is not primarily focused on meaning, and therefore free to identify with the imaginative possibilities that nurture my music.

We have appreciated the way , through an effective synergy between Art and Technology, condenses physical gestures and ethereal perspectives into a coherent unity. To process the sound of the saxophone in real time you have created an Arduino based pedal: it was no doubt that since the first years of Max MSP, the impetuous way modern technology has nowadays came out on the top has dramatically revolutionized the idea of making music and of Art in general. We are sort of convinced that new media will definitely fill the apparent dichotomy between art and technology and seemingly Art and Technology are going to assimilate one to each other... what's your opinion about this?


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I think nowadays there are many ways to approach art and technology, and media arts is one of them. My ideal to approach technology in my art comes in an organic and sort of humanized way, rather than something robotic or explicitly digital. I choose to integrate the technology subtly with my music. Therefore, on my projects I avoid having the computer visible to the audience. Instead, I create devices that fit organically into the aesthetics of the performance. In my solo for example, I control everything by a handmade pedal which has buttons, faders and a cell phone, which provides a visual feedback of what is going on in the computer. With the pedal I can control both music and lights, but my design minimizes the gestures needed to create the desired effect. This allows me to keep the faceto-face connection with the audience, to allow them to focus on the sound and the movements, without any unnecessary distractions on the stage.

I agree with Demand´s statement – I find it more interesting for the audience to bring their own interpretation, experiences, beliefs, feelings to the performance, as opposed to us dictating the

narrative with a heavy use of props and symbols. As far as the non-linear narrative, it is more art than science – literally – our decision in the order of the scenes, for example, come from the evolution of multiple performances, not from a rigid logistical decision. We decide together what feels right for us, and trust our instincts. This does not mean that each individual scene does not have a conscious narrative, but when


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we assemble the scenes, we use our gut to decide the proper sequence. A connection with the audience is very important to me, in both live and recorded performances. When I am performing live I think about all aspects and details of the performance – the space has a very special


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importance not only for its acoustics, but also for its aesthetics, energy, and atmosphere. Thinking about the performance as a whole experience is very important to create a connection, and from the audience´s impression when they enter the space details like the arrangement of the seating and lighting can make a big impact.

I also think about the audiences for recorded performances, as by placing videos online they enter into a public space. These are a different type of performance that reach different people, and are not a documentation of a live performance simply captured on video and put online; my online performances are designed to be consumed individually, on demand.


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It´s exciting to collaborate because the other person is outside of your discipline and makes observations that you cannot because you are too close to it. They also impact your actual work style by bringing their own methodology. You can arrive in a different place when you collaborate, that is impossible to achieve alone. In addition, their influence extends beyond the time together, and stays with you for future projects. With Peter, usually when an electronic musician plays with an instrumentalist, they are behind a computer. But for us, it was important to integrate his participation in a more organic way. We are very conscious of our respective movements during the performance and we employ technology that allows us more freedom of movement. More fundamentally, I believe that collaboration is a vital skill to a performance artist, which must be practiced everyday. Because at some point, the magic just happens when you find the right person to partner with. Tunnel Ensemble is an example of this; we lucked out with chemistry just being right for both of us.


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language is used in a particular context? Yes, I’m very aware of the audience and I do my best to include them as an essential element of the performance. Each audience, each space, each country is different and I need to adapt my music for it – the time and place of a performance actually bring the meaning to the work. That's one of the reasons why I don’t write down my solo pieces, because they are in constant transformation depending on each situation. I think it important to be able to adapt and sense the energy in order to create a unique experience where everyone is sharing in the silences as well as the sounds. Thanks a lot for your time and for sharing your thoughts, Marc. Finally, would you like to tell us readers something about your future projects? How do you see your work evolving? My work is divided into three main paths that are, of course, connected. First of all I’m currently creating audiovisual performances while also working with electroacoustic compositions, improvisation, and interdisciplinary collaborations with dance, theatre and moving images. A second part of my practice relates to teaching, where I’m continuing to investigate the instrument as a sound generator using extended techniques. The

goal is to create a teaching manual to make the techniques I have developed as widely available as possible. The first seed for this manual came from the experience of teaching workshops and giving lectures in different universities around the world.


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Finally I’m creating installations that aim to have a social impact on society. Working often with refugee and inequality issues, I was selected to join the Citizen Artists Incubator, the first European program developed for performing artists who aspire to develop new ways of using collaborative artistic innovation to positively impact

global social and environmental challenges. Two new interactive installations are emerging from this commitment. An interview by and

, curator , curator


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A min Rostamizadeh Lives and works in Kerman, Iran

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hese pieces are about women, whom through history have always been attacked on the basis of conditions prevailing in society. The women in my paintings, vulnerable to such assaults, are married by this violence. But these scars are deeper than the skin. Darkness, through this mutilation, corrupts the their clarity and purity, decaying the spirit and body. Their souls are destroyed, gradually melting – they can neither see, nor be seen. Speaking, becomes

punishing. Uncaring, we remained silent. Words catch in our throat, even when faced with their visages. We see our own inadequacy, and the results of our inaction. Their faces protest, their silence speaks. Suddenly, we realize we are a part of this tragedy. We feel this pain, this objection, this gross injustice. For, they want to be seen and to be heard – that is the essence to being.


For Being Drawing, Pencil Drawing, 2016, W:16.0 H:26.0 cm


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As far as I can remember I started painting when I was seven and since primary school. Both at school and at home any time I found a white paper I started to paint. Since my parents loved art, they pursue my interest and talent in addition to paying attention to my lessons. They knew I was interested in drawing and I was a regular person in studying my lessons and doing my homework as well and learning drawing did not damage my lessons, so, they decided to send me to drawing training classes when I was eight years old. Thanks to the support of family and especially my father who has supported me with heart and soul.

Before entering the university, I was doing the representation of reality in painting and drawing during a 10-year course. The results of the course were reaching a precise and sophisticated look as well as learning techniques and acquisition of basic skills. My attitude towards painting and drawing was changed after entering the university. From this period onwards, my works have been based on creating mental images, insights and improvisation. I gradually became far from the real world and was in the style of inside viewing and continued this trend up to now.

In my work, I try to explore inside the contemporary man. A human stayed away from his origin and wandered in time while facing with a variety of threats. The incidence of these modes will be manifested in the human face in the best way. The modes that are influenced by culture and social and political conditions governing the society. This influence, whether positive or


For Being Drawing, Pencil Drawing, 2016, W:30 H:30.0 cm


Amin Rostamizadeh

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negative, takes a negative and protest form in my works. I think the idea that links my works is the lack of modern man identity because most of my works are about the exploration of human moods and expressing them in the form of painting and drawing.

Portraying a woman and her different physical and internal features has always been interesting and noteworthy to me. Perhaps the reason for this tendency and attention is the communication restrictions that exist in society between men and women. On one hand, this inhibition creates distance and lack of understanding between the two sides. On the other hand, it makes men and women greedy and horny and curious about each other. However, social and personal limitations for women caused me to be more sensitive and criticize the status quo against women.

As long as the society and its people have been infected with filth and ugliness, the mission of the artist is to spread awareness among all members of society. It is better to get this protest and criticism from the artist's visual language to make a deeper impact since Art is a powerful tool for culture promotion and public awareness that will usually be denied by villainous governments.

Acid attack occurred for girls and women in a city in Iran about three years ago. Of course, this was not the first time. The news and pictures of the victims caused anxiety within my minds and soul. To get rid of the images that were hurting my mind and heart, I had to picture them. Women and girls who have been victims of fanaticism and extremism and the blessings of living and being in the society were forbidden for them.

Undoubtedly, a part of the production process or the creation of artwork is the influence of the thoughts and ideas of contemporaries. As I mentioned, the subject of women and its different dimensions in my community is associated with sensitivity and ups and downs especially for those who have a particular look and controversial reactions towards their social good or


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For Being Drawing, Pencil Drawing, 2016, W:14.0 H:13.0 cm

bad events. Still this subject is a context for creating artworks for my artists of my country. About my own inspiration and

impressionability, I cannot refer to any particular artists. I have directed and carried out most of my personal


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For Being Drawing, Pencil Drawing, 2016, W:14.0 H:14.0 cm

thoughts and ideas by trial and error and have obtained acceptable results in this way.


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In my opinion, teaching work experiences to others is very interesting and hearty and in the process of artist’s business and intellectual development is very useful and effective. In fact, training is also a part of learning process. Dare I say that before starting teaching at the university, no coherent ideas and thoughts were observable in my works. But when I began to transfer my experiences and knowledge to my students, I realized my shortcomings and weaknesses and it was a new start in my learning. Therefore, in the workshop classes of drawing I was working with the students and these efforts yielded great results for me. Communication with students and those who are younger than me is attractive to me as I will get familiar with their thoughts, examine their different and interesting ideas and use the useful tips in my works. So, I can say I sometimes welcome and use students’ specific and pure thoughts.

Desire to progress and learning always acts as a powerful stimuli in me.

Presence and experience in national and international art events is a good opportunity for me in order to be able to communicate with those who live in different parts of the world and send my nation’s message to them. Nothing can help except Art that is the language of dialogue of different cultures. I am here to express my happiness for learning this pervasive language and I am still learning. Well, anyway, an artwork cannot be perfect and meaningful without an audience so the audience and artwork are complementary. The viewer reaction was so strange while visiting my works with the theme of women's portrait in the exhibition. They stared at the portrait silently and after a few minutes left there while crying. I was upset about this matter but I saw that those people came again in the following days and stood in front of works. This time they were just silent. A long silence… As if they had been talking to the woman enclosed with the frame and whispering a common pain… I was shocked when I saw their reactions.

Thanks for this useful and constructive conversation. I’d like you and your readers to follow my works and wait for other images of my inner mind. I can see the positive and significant growing trend of drawing and learning so, despite all the lack and limitations, I do my best to improve the quality and sense of my works.


For Being Drawing, Pencil Drawing, 2016, W:20.0 H:28.0 cm


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S habnam Mottaghi Lives and works in Columbus, Ohio, USA

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reating always excites me. It is like riding on waves by which I can travel far to many dream worlds beyond my imagination. Worlds that sometimes can be only a “wish”, sometimes an “if only”, sometimes an “alas” and sometimes an “unreachable dream”. When I was a child, I used to fly with pelicans drawn by my father. In my dreams, they led me to see, see and see more of people lives, homes, towns, … That’s why people became my painting main subjects as the nature of their existence fills my thoughts. In my paintings, I simply define people with lines, colors and layers, people made of rain, sun, clouds, stone, air, iron and flowers. For visual expression of my feelings and thoughts, I have benefited from various tools, materials and techniques in different periods of my works. I imagine if every human being is like an amazing book, my paintings are like a book; a window of me to the world for the fans, as one of the many books in the universe.

Shabnam Mottaghi was born at 1972 in Tehran, Iran and immigrated to US in 2014. Since her teen years, she recognized her interest in art and started to train with well-known art instructors in Painting, Calligraphy, Sculpture and Graphic for 20 years, while she chose painting as her major art activity. Social issues have been one of her main concerns and based on her artistic trends, she studied Bachelor of Social Sciences at the university and completed her studies in Master of Graphic, while continuing her artistic career as a painter. In two decade of her art career, Shabnam Mottaghi has participated in more than 20 group and 8 solo exhibitions. She has published three books and two research papers in art and creativity for children and in 2006 her book "The Store and Me" won the illustration award in International Children Book Competitions in US. Besides painting, exhibiting her artworks and teaching, she continues to illustrate and write books for children and is expected to be releasing a new book in 2017.


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Shabnam Mottaghi An interview by and

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Hello. I'm also happy to get this opportunity to talk about my ideas and works. As you mentioned, I've been active in a number of art fields. I have been most focused on painting and gaining experience in other branches of the arts has made me work more intensely and see my works from different angles. For example, in the simplicity of visual elements, I'm very impressed with the field of graphics. I have learnt the creation of textures and curves from calligraphy and using various materials from volumetric. Painting and working freely in making of impromptu happenings is one of the characteristics of my works. When I intend to create a work through knowing other branches of art, all of them at the moment give me

more control over my work in order to use various techniques. Finally, the outcome of this recognition of the various branches of art creates more intimate and personalized line of thought for me. I think the relationship between my past and new works is very huge, in fact, my new works is in the process of my past work. The main theme of my paintings is human that portrayed as Expressionism and Abstraction. I have been interested in depicting the expression of human emotions and various states of humans and sometimes picturing their personalities. Naturally, the social conditions of the living environment have an immense influence on the expression of the artist. And to answer this question, I must say, the figures I've already painted are the common points of my past and new works but the sensation that comes out of their states is different and there are some changes in the use of color in my works.


Life


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The Rain

Shabnam Mottaghi


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When I want to start painting, first, I begin with the drawing of the subject of mind I've already had. I often paint with paintbrush and color. My favorite material is acrylic. Sometimes I keep on drawing and, in the meantime, I mix the colors. Sometimes a sudden good combination will be revealed so I'll keep it. After painting, the process of making main colors of the body of the work will be started to get a suitable and cooked color, to express my mean by color. This is a part that is very important to me and I spend a lot of time trying to be integrated with my painting. Then I try to correlate the subject, forms and colors.

As I mentioned earlier, the subject of my mind is human and human figures or portraits can be seen in most of my paintings. And this is the main theme of my work that I’m dealing with. Depicting various human states and expressing different human emotions are the main ideas of my works. The main theme of my works is quite a social theme that makes the whole and all my works monolithic.

A collection of works that I have sent for ARTiculAction magazine is a collection of human themes and human figures and

portraits. I've focused more on females. I want to express the inner feelings of a person that caused by social issues and illustrate such meanings as sadness, happiness, love or loneliness, the need for freedom, and so on. It is natural that in every artwork, colors and forms attract the viewer’s attention first. But, by simplifying the forms and using gray colors, I have tried to show the inner sense of the human being. Basically, the improvisation stage of my work is when I use a technique to create a texture. Some textures will appear randomly that I can control them. Often I bring this type of texture on the face of my faces to represent the movement, change, and multiplicity of human beings and because they are subtle textures, they can convey the sense and meaning.

I think it is natural, when an artist paints his own image or depicts portraits or figures it becomes very similar to his or her own face. In some of the portraits I’ve intentionally drawn myself. But in many of my works I haven’t deliberately drawn myself or perhaps it was in my unconsciousness and I've painted as if it looks like myself. Anyway, I intend to convey a message. There is a narration with a social nature behind it whose subject is particularly women’s rights and status. For example, in some figures, some parts of the face like mouth are removed which indicates that in some traditional societies women cannot bring up their rights.


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For me, the difference between people’s thoughts and ideas has always been considerable. I think every human being can be read and recognized as a book. Artists are in a state that they depict their inner-ities and ideas by producing artistic works. Therefore, an artwork can be considered as a visual study. That is, it can be achieved through messages and meanings in the works of artists. Life experiences, well seeing and hearing and the peripheral issues I encounter everyday plus my imagination, and ideas are the parameters whose outcomes affect on my work right at the moment of creating so my drawings will be the result of my mind, my ideas and experiences and influences that I have taken from the social environment. The effects that I see and feel everyday in social and peripheral issues. Because picturing the feelings that an artist gets from his environment is a part of his job. Adding imagery or wishes and deformation of colors and forms to emphasize an issue is another part of the work. For this reason, I mentioned that the different effects that individuals get from their surroundings make them express differently so each one can be read and seen like a book.

Definitely, I am creating an artwork


Shabnam Mottaghi

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Lovebirds


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Me or the Butterfly depending on my own unique psychological structure. I mean I add what I’ve seen, heard, studied and thought as an

idea, creativity and improvisation. All these define the skeleton and technical and emotional body of my work.


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I am interested in the environment in which children participate. That's why I’ve spent many years teaching art to children. I like the way the children paint because they draw paintings impromptu without any fears or anxiety. And they like to experience various materials and materials without any restrictions. But teaching arts to children by training new generation’s creativity is more important than any job to me. It is relaxing for me to work for and with children for the sake of honesty and innocence among them.

Viewers and generally audiences have played an important role in my activity because as soon as the artwork leaves the artist's studio and is exposed to the public, opinions, feedbacks and criticisms will be started and I can use them. And that's what happened to me several times. This means that sometimes the questions and critique of others made me review my work and again, I look at it from the audience's perspective. This brings me closer to the audiences as well as there will have a positive impact on my ability in presenting next works. The interesting and special point of feedback from the viewers is that I can find out the viewers’ attention and the works’ impacts on the others through the number of questions that viewers are


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My Rabbits

Shabnam Mottaghi


Shabnam Mottaghi

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Birds asking. Selling my works is the most important part that makes me understand about the audience's interest in my work, as well.


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Grey World

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My Girl, Sun


from People-Life series


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, 38x42, 2010

Birds Painting has always been my favorite field so I'll always paint. Besides, I sometimes make volumes from the figures depicted in my drawings. But the

project ahead of me is illustrating children's books. I'm currently illustrating three stories I've written for kids and I’m going to work more in this branch.


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A lireza Mirzarezaee Lives and works in Tehran, Iran

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he first impression, looking into my paintings is my ability and efforts in creating a stable and steady composition. My painting world offers poetic and dreamy environment while strongly resists sentimentalism and fleeting emotionalism and keep its distance from falling into a purely romantic and thoughtless state. Visual rhythms and formal swings are the most important features in my paintings composition. In this process, something like the futurist behavior with figure is formed and an alternate movement possesses the canvas and the viewer's eye. Objects and figures are in distance, taken away, they are flying or are seen in a colorful outer space. In creating my paintings, I benefit from an applicable exciting visual expressive language and line orientation and forms are more important than coloring. My coloring

palette is not so diverse, but my dancing and intensity of brush in canvas beside sharp contrast and taking advantages of white areas in my canvas play a leading role in creating an epic and influential painting. Although my painting world clearly indicates a figurative look into my subjects, but in some of my works the border between figurative and abstract is very narrow and it creates a new space between Figuratism and Abstraction. In this atmosphere, a bird flies faraway, a rigid and silent figure moves and in another place and a flowing spirit passes a silent and steady body. It seems that my works with a symbolic expression show the distance and closeness of body and soul.


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In answer to how the Master degree affected on the development of my artwork I should say since I was born deaf, in the early years of my birth I was caught in the deadly world of silence because people first hear through the ears and the brain first analyzes the sounds and voices and then record them. Teaching and learning are collections of hearing from people in society, media, press, magazines, etc obtained through explanation about unsaid and secret hints of color, handwriting, art history and styles and their impact on works and individual studies. I was deprived of these senses due to the lack of adequate understanding of concepts. These were all effective in delaying my progress compared to people who are able to hear. During BA period my main works were focused on still life and figures in the first

2 years of the fourth semester. In the third year, students were taught styles that I never realized and professors neither were patient enough nor knew how to teach me so I could learn a small amount of 20% from them. I myself tried very hard to understand the relationships among the drawings that I could see. I was regularly in numerous exhibitions and with so many drawings that I did I could both improve my works and know different styles. Our works were based on practical work during BA period while in MA courses that was more research and investigation. Since I was unable in theoretical works, my major activity was based on practical works and learning through visual sense. Cultural roots and language are the most influential elements on art and culture of each country. I realized that in every country, colors and forms, architectural and artistic texture and composition of each land from clothes to dialects (which is Persian in Iran) play significant roles so I intuitively and instinctively apply all these understandings with visual perception.


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In my artistic works, first, I draw different Etudes on paper. The style of my etudes is with pen and relatively quick. So, as soon as an imagination can stimulate my mind, I draw it on the paper immediately as an output as I draw some of these fast and nonstop lines and fluctuations and areas that require delicacy with the relatively slow movements. Then I select the best etudes or use movement techniques and rotating images between two similar etudes that have less and more compounds to get appropriate arrangement. Next, I draw selected etude on the canvas with the brushes in different sizes not as a copy but as a model or pattern. In this way, the main task will be fixed. Finally, I chose the colors, which have decisive and effective roles in this step, proportional to the painting space and compounds and complete my work.

All my paintings are illustrated based on imagination, thought and indefinable and feeling that are inexpressible and all imagination and transactions which are borrowed from the world are the issues that connect different pieces on canvas. Although the drawings may be unrealistic, they are results of my thoughts and beliefs happened in my life. Like a documentary which seems unreal but it has been filming in the real world.


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Alireza Mirzarezaee


Alireza Mirzarezaee

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As I mentioned before, visual rhythm and movement are of techniques and basis of my works because I believe that our world is full of movements and mobility. Immobilization is soulless and dead. Therefore, the balance of locating objects in space, variety of colors and proper distance of everything in the world around us induces mobility and introduces life and vitality to us.

Things that are real and unreal together are releasing positive energy and creating exciting and effective space. Like an advice that looks bitter but sweet and effective with a little humor.

I don’t get involved in various titles and names although some of my works have titles. Since I believe that each artwork must be able to communicate with the viewers simply and clearly. Furthermore, some other of my works with similar themes have similar titles, as well. It may


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also happen in art teachers’ works and they may have some untitled works.


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About the white that is seen anywhere in my works I have to say that many artists have used white spots on their works. If these white pieces are in the right sizes and places, they will make the space

active, exciting and energetic. I also put the white spots wherever the colors are dark for avoiding uniformity, affecting on the visual space and attracting the audience and making the viewers joyful and excited.


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The major features that I am using in my works for painting scenes are weightless and suspended motifs and imaginative images that enable me to convey my


Alireza Mirzarezaee

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horrible paintings. I haven’t imitated anyone in my works and I didn’t have any specific pattern but with many efforts I tried to be inventive and creative. One my routines is haunting several galleries and analyzing my friends’ works. I try to be inspired by the movies I watch and make new subjects by changing and turning the images. I mostly use consultation and guidance of Mr. Nosratollah Moslemian.

People who visited my works in the exhibition held in the Elahe Gallery in the winter of 2015 were relatively satisfied. They talked about the power of the pen and brush and freshness of colors. They were excited to see huge canvases. But the exhibition in May 2016 was not welcomed like 2015. I think the reason was that previously I couldn’t talk to them or communicate with them and answer their questions.

active and exciting mind to the viewers. I have mostly used the images of weightlessness as I enjoy floating and fluidity. Sometimes I admire scary and

I will continue my painting until I am successful and have many individual exhibitions in Iran and outside the country. I hope to work on such thriller and scary paintings that I can be a wellknown and popular person in this field and as well as a conversant artist in suspended and weightless artworks in which I’m interested.


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Esther Eigner An interview by and

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colors out of plants on my own today.In grammar/secondary school, I had a good teacher who helped me to learn more about art and artistic techniques and I began to love it. Still, it is important for my current work to changetechniquesand experiment with them. Then at university I learned how to paint with and on different materials and in different styles. But also how to make objects out of stone, metal, pottery/ceramic or wood.After learning how to deal with different materials and how to reproduce the reality in a painting it became easier and interesting for me to abstract things. I don’t know if there is an “aesthetic problem” in general for me personally. Making art for me is always to meet a need of mine. That is why it is hard for me to do “commissioned work” sometimes. So if I like the painting I made I will show it, if not I will wait, maybe throw it away or leave it and make it better on another day.

Hello, first of all, thank you for the invitation to this interview. Already in my childhood, I was interested in art and in making experiments on my own. I also love to cook or like to do the gardening,the latter is perhaps the reason or starting point why I make


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Esther Eigner


Esther Eigner

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As already mentioned my style changed after I had learned about different techniques from almost figurative paintings to a mixture of figurative and abstract works and my painting process is always directed towards meeting a need of mine. But it is still important to me to “experience” the originsof the colors, pencils, canvas or papers while painting. Therefore not only the topic, but also the painting process matters to me.

I take my inspiration from everyday life. Sometimes it happens by accident, while hearing the lyrics of a song, being in a special mood. I can be inspired by a flower, works from another artist, or anything else. For instance, in “Ways of Color” my source of inspiration was the way I had to follow to find the right plants to produce my colors.


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Every painting is deeply influenced by my feelings. The range of my works or “palette” depends on the topic of the painting. But basically I use pastel and dim colors for my works. That is why I like egg tempera, pastel-pencils or my own “plant colors”. My style and the colors I use changed over time, when I was young I used more powerful colors.

It is true that I try to invite the viewer to find personal interpretations to the feelings a painting could cause and of course there are translations of my own feelings in every painting I do. On the one hand, I don’t like to explain every painting. But on the other hand sometimes, to understand the topic, it is very important to inform the viewer about my work. For example “Ways of color” has a special story and every piece is part of the way, therefore it is important to give some explanation. Other pieces allow a self-interpretation. Sometimes it is exciting to hear what other people feel watching one of my works. Everyone has different feelings and impressions that cause different interpretations. For example I even have a painting whose name is “Tell a Story”.


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Esther Eigner


Esther Eigner

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Well, for me it is not easy to answer that question. Of course my works are concerned with my experiences and they often deal with dreams I had during the night, especially the surrealistic ones, or with situations that came to my mind while listening to a song or while reading a text. Art as I mentioned before then gives me the chance to deal with my feelings. Therefore, those pictures are very emotive and may trigger something in the viewer’s minds.

The starting point for a creative process is not always the same. But my personal experience is always important. Furthermore, personal


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experience is a long lasting and changing process. Each piece of art starts from a different degree of experience which I see as important to start a creative process. There are different kinds of experience that are important for me. Experience how to handle the materials but also how to handle my emotional feelings and how to create a picture that explains what I want to express, but some kind of personal experience is always needed.

Well, although I was often confronted with this question it isn’t easy to answer in a short way. Art can be everything and nothing. I know many philosophic orhistoric texts concerning art, where the authors draw different and conflicting conclusions what art can be, may or must be or about what is art and what is not. Therefore it is not easy for me to give a definite answer in this respect. Art could deal with emotional, political, technical/optical topics. But there a lot people that like art only because it is nice to look at. “Art is not an apparatus to build a common and meaningful world-view. Art is, assumable it is at all, the opposite of common and general”.I really like this sentence because


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it is the best way for me to explain art after

ist, vorausgesetzt, dass sie überhaupt sein will,

thinking about it in so many ways.

der Gegensatz von allgemein“

„Kunst ist kein Apparat zur Herstellung einer allgemein belangvollen Weltanschauung. Kunst


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viewer’s reactions and thoughts concerning my works. But these are not part of my decisionmaking process. And I think it is the aim of almost every artist tha this pieces of art lead to Not really. I am always curious about the

a reaction, what ever this reaction might be.


Esther Eigner

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At the moment, I am really interested in working and experimenting with plants. Still in making colors out of them, but also use them for objects or silkscreen prints. For example, in my current series I try to work with the texture of a physalis, and another one is called “Faces of the Year” which deals with photographs of faces I

incidentally discovered in mud, in broken walls, in a water spotting, or maybe also in other things like clouds which look like faces. There are a few older projects that aren’t finished yet too. But it is not possible for me to work on only one project. I always have to work on a few ones at the same time. Another future project is to give painting lectures and courses. And I would like to work on bigger projects together with other people to make use of my culture management seminar. But we will see.


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L illian Abel Lives and works in Los Angeles, California, USA

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he paintings are an exploration of the space between abstraction and representation. They are abstracted by the palette knife, searching for hidden worlds and images in the paint that reveal on the picture plane. They need to be uncovered, stroked, massaged and moved onto the surface, brought up from where they are hiding; surprising me with their ability to come forth when called by my hand. Revealing the recognized of our ‘world sight’ as unrecognizable, opening the eye of the witness to the coalescence of fierceness and delicacy in Nature. Beginning from the darkness, moving to find hidden worlds that lay just beyond the edge of our awareness, calling forth the unexplored knowledge of the unseen. When the scales of our eyes are lifted we are brought to the underlying entity. The work depicts Nature, however it is made in the studio from memory, impulse and emotion.

The work is created with a palette knife, laying down one, two or three colors together. The paint is moved around the wood surface to find the desired images. Often times a good image is covered up for the sake of the whole composition; and there are times when all the paint needs to be removed before starting over again. It is a process of finding the desired forms and composition of the painting, while not initially laying out the end piece. My process is to find ambiguous forms that make an impression, rather than an image. The work requires patience of the viewer to discover these forms, which allows a direct experience on both an emotional and intellectual level. Although the overall look is landscape, the desired outcome is the deeper sense of energy of nature, as well as within the nature of us.


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Lillian Abel An interview by and

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, photo by


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Lillian Abel

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The varied training I’ve had in painting and sculpture has provided the freedom to become an Artist who can move wherever the work takes me and not be tied to any one medium. I cherish those days of exploring, experimenting and

learning skills. All the training I’ve had as a student in different schools had given me the ability to also move as an artist to different ways of making the work. My interest has always been what we don’t know, rather than what we do know. The order, synchrony, ending and beginning of the Cosmos, always a part of my Psyche, now, more than in the past, informs the present work. Putting into


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paint and clay, rather than into words, what is always on edge of my consciousness, too delicate to be exposed with a revealing, harsh light.


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I no longer use brushes to make the work. The palette knife is used to make the present work. The hard surface of wood or panel allows the choice of hard to light pressure in the application of the paint. Turpentine is the only medium used in the process. The one, two or three colors are sometimes directly from the paint tube. Most of the time I will mix the colors to produce the effect I seek for the painting.

Working in clay is another way to meditation. The malleability of clay allows freedom in experimentation to find forms and layers. It’s not a search for the end piece, more of a discovery of the outcome, which, at times is unpredictable in the making of the piece as it grows and changes.


Lillian Abel

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Lillian Abel

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Personal experience is an absolutely indispensable part of a creative process. Everyone has different experiences of the energy and visual they perceive. Their experiences inform their perception of the world. I work to share my experiences with others in order to provoke new observation for the viewer. Referring to “What Remains Will Begin Again�, I become overwhelmed in nature when experiencing its vastness and size, its struggle to survive, its gentle existence and violent beginnings and ends, its dangerous destruction, its incredible beauty. What once existed will always exist somewhere else, whether animal, vegetable or mineral. The mysterious and eternal forces of nature are a fascination on many levels, from kind, gentle growth to raging upheaval to create a new thing.

My palette has changed in that I will mix acrid colors for a particular painting and


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18" x 24" Oil on Wood

peaceful colors for another. The color is important in that it binds together the opposites of the forms, strokes and colors. The intention of the color is to inform the mood and energy of the painting as well as to present opposites. For example calm peaceful colors, blues and purples are soothing, however, I use them to convey upheaval, chaos and violence depicting peace and turmoil occurring together at the same time.

Hence there are many lines crossed to opposite sides that are shaded and not clear as energy flips its essence.


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Lillian Abel


Lillian Abel

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Thinking too much destroys the creative flow. Feeling too much does the same. There needs to be balance. The conscious and subconscious exist together at all times, however, when creating, the subconscious has more control than the conscious mind. When I see surprises in the work it appears I am in touch with my subconscious, perhaps even universal consciousness. When I contemplate the work after its completion, finding forms not particularly remembered and experiencing them change and move to something else as I watch them creates in me the same wonder experienced in nature. Every time I look at the completed work there is always something new to find. I am in a meditative state when I’m painting, thus the question of; where is the paintings origin and how did it come to its current state? The next question would be “How do I know when the painting is completed? It’s knowing and trusting when to stop.

The Memory of a thing or a place is always distorted by our continued remembering of it. Conversely, the energy and sensations of nature remain with us always as strong


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connections. The energy of the cycles of nature absorbed into our subconscious become stronger when transferred into our consciousness and the memory exists on many levels.

Everything is a Miracle as I stand in awe and enchantment in the face of the Universe and our planet. There is an overwhelming joy in this observance. The unknown is a perpetual fascination, whether inside or outside of us. Thus, there is the need to contemplate unknown forces within and outside of us. Nature is also in awe of us and brings to us indescribable changes as it merges with our internal landscape.


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Ultimately the intent is for the work to provoke thought and be perceived on dark and/or light levels. The viewer’s perception is considered when I am choosing forms and colors. If it is beautiful to them, that’s good, if it is disturbing that’s also good. The most important experience desired is on an emotional, mysterious level of some kind.

At present, I am feeling an exciting shift towards working on a larger format. There is a wonderful intimacy about working smaller that I think will carry over since I continue to be interested in experiencing what evolves from the paintings when they expand and contract. There is a perceptual shift that occurs when the scale changes both within the painting and in its format. When boundaries begin to fade I can get lost in this, and this is the best place to be. An interview by and

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C arlie Sherry Lives and works in New York City, USA

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ichotomies exist within my own histories, creating tensions between my religion and my body. I am empowered by my femininity— yet remain vulnerable. Disobeying God, mouth delightfully open, and eyes closed shut, I look to Eve ashe takes a bite from the tree of knowledge. After Eve ingests the fruit and seduces Adam to do the same, they become aware of their nakedness and are ashamed of their own bodies. She is then ultimately blamed for bringing temptation and sin upon mankind. From the start of my religious upbringing, Eve’s impactful story ultimately shaped unrealistic notions of purity. Perpetuating

feeling shame for nakedness, temptation, and sin. Budding into a young sexual woman, this message remained contradictory in my moral consciousness. Traditions blur my reality. Expectations impeding upon my body. Here I genuflect under a system of patriarchy that tempts to shape women’s issues ile the system lacks women’s voice; a system that stifles women’s sexual wholeness and understanding of the self. As the church remains out of touch with modern life, I paint. My truth


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In regards to my cultural substratum, I grew up in a small city named Ogdensburg, NY. I stem from a large, extended Catholic family on both my mother’s and my father’s side. My upbringing in the Catholic Church specifically lends to the content of my new work, including my obsession with the body. Much of the aesthetic problem deals with making art for the sake of idealistic beauty. Rather than concerning myself with solely making art beautiful, my art is created in opposition of social constructs from communities that took a part in shaping my identity.


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parts of identity in a different community. In order to relate this concept to material, I layered frosted pieces of Mylar on top of one another to build up “masks�, only allowing some parts of the identity to show through. Meanwhile with my paint, I was constantly fragmenting and breaking my brush stroke. It was a physical build up and break down of identity within the materials itself. Eventually I became interested in specific aspects of identity such as: religion as identity, the stereotyped identity of women within a Christian context, and the idea of women’s sexual wholeness as a form of identity. For this series I chose to reference Christian art historical paintings, by drawing and painting with a focus on central compositions and using more traditional materials. My process of art making includes, working from life and or photography. This includes setting up dynamic lighting situations on the figure and objects. I spend time researching artists and writers who speak a similar language to my work. I also try to journal about the work itself once a series is completed. My stylistic choices are made by considering the inseparable relationship between content and material. For example, I did a series of faces based on the concept of identity, and how identity was built up by social constructs. Every experience we have ever had shapes identities that exist within. We reveal certain identities to certain social groups and communities, and hide the same


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Before I begin a series, I start by asking a question or multiple questions. I then attempt to answer those questions throughout the creative process. The Garden of Eden began in the same way. Asking questions such as: What role do women play in Catholicism? How has this role shaped women of faith? What is the long lasting psychological effect of this part of our identity? Reflecting back on biblical narrative I knew I would find answers to my questions within Eve. Through my art I also became interested in what may exist in between binaries. Creating a sensation of tensionharmony, harmony-tension, examines that as humans we experience both comfort and discomfort within aspects of who we are; that there are many emotions and psychological states between tension and harmony. Using metaphors prevents my artwork from solely illustrating the story we have heard before, and prevents being too literal within the context of narrative. Instead, the artwork may contain some sense of ambiguity, inviting the viewer to ask questions about each piece and then to develop their own multi-layered interpretations of those questions. Discussing a few specific pieces, the pomegranate in Eves first Bite is a metaphor for the sexual, including reproduction. The Snake is a great example of dualistic metaphor. In the traditional narrative the snake convinces eve to take a bite from the tree of knowledge. This serpent is supposedly a

symbol for evil. Instead of an actual serpent I chose to draw a phallus. It asks the viewer to interpret whether or not the phallus represents the snake as sexual or is it a critique of the patriarchal system of the church? If the metaphor leans towards the sexual, does this make the snake inherently “evil� or is it the patriarchal theology of the church that is to blame for constructing questionable ideologies?


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All human experiences shape individual identities as well as interests we may have. I do believe those experiences filter into the creative process for most artists. The question is whether or not the artist is conscious of this while making the work. Since my personal experiences make up the majority of my content, personal experience is absolutely an indispensable part of creative process, and lies in the conscious of my mind. Although this is true for myself I do believe many artists would argue against my point, and say that their work has nothing to do with their experiences. Some artists may say they make a painting for the sake of painting, purely enjoying the process end of the work. I would argue that their personal experiences up to that point led them to painting in the first place. Personal experience is not something some artists may think about while making art, but I believe that it still lies in their subconscious mind.

I agree with Thomas Demand on this. The original function of using symbolism in art during the Renaissance was to tell the narrative to the illiterate. From time to time I do use symbolic references in my art, mostly for myself. Expecting the viewers to understand the meaning of all symbols would be unreasonable. For me, the psychological aspects are dealt with in the forms, especially the body. In The Garden of Eden series, I am interested in showing glimpses of the body rather than the form as a whole. This form of abstraction probes the psychological in its own regard. I conceive my narratives as I delve into my personal histories. I think to understand one’s identity one must attempt to understand and learn from their past, recalling memory. This is why I shape my work around personal identity and the autobiographical. I use self-portraiture to reflect upon my own story; using religious context to investigate contradictions of the church relational to contemporary life and


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womanhood. This is why in some pieces of art I play the role of myself, while in others I play the role of someone else, such as The Virgin Mary or Eve. Once I get a better understanding of my own identity, I can advocate for women’s issues beyond myself. I try to be genuine to my experience, not to assume that all women have the same histories as myself, but rather that many women may relate. I am interested in ways we can advocate for each other to prevent

marginalization of women that exists within the communities to which they belong.


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Catholic Church attempts to shape women’s issues while completely lacking women’s voice. This usually originates from literal interpretations of the bible, and long standing traditions that are out of touch with modern life. It includes issues of abstinence, family planning, and women’s general sexual wholeness. The Catholic Church also has a firm stance on political platforms that exist outside the church such as marriage and family life for LGBTQ couples, birth control, and abortion. All of which marginalizes women and LGBTQ families. It also distorts how young women see and experience their own bodies, including feeling shame and guilt about sexuality. As women we should have the choice to create our own paths regarding our bodies, without having to give up our religious identities as well. As the church continues to remain out of touch with modern life, the younger generation numbers dwindle. Considering some change in outdated traditions could promote a more welcoming environment, and prevent marginalization of its own community members. As an artist in contemporary society I hope to promote change for outdated ideologies and stereotyped constructs; to continuously be progressive in thought.

The feminist argument, “the personal is political,” certainly applies to my art. The


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I have fond memories of Catholic Mass from my childhood. I can recall the smell of burning incense, tastes of the Eucharist, the feel of my own hands clasping in prayer. I often think of the spectacle of the holy men in robes conducting rituals on the altar, and can still hear the melodies of the choir singing hymns. These memories are shaped from experiences I had in a moment of time, experiences that were fleeting as soon as they happened. What I find interesting about memory is the dissolution of memory throughout time. Our memory alters itself as we continue to experience new things in the present, making original memories faulty. We remember things how we want to remember them. I wonder if I still identify as a Catholic because I hold onto false memories as a source of comfort in familial traditions. My artwork is always a play between the past and the present. I often wonder how I remember my upbringing versus how it actually happened, compared to how my memories shape my identity, to how present experiences change those memories. Certainly, the viewer brings their own experiences, and altered memories to the art. I always welcome open interpretations that cue the viewer’s emotional response. In the art itself, we see rendered objects from contemporary space, such as Eve wearing glasses, or potted plants rather than a landscaped space. This is a play

on the past and present. We also see moments of transparency within the application of the materials. The Garden of Eden series questions whether or not we are seeing in the now or are we seeing fleeting memories of the past. I often render the body completely with form, as the body is physical, and present in the moment. It is the external and outside forces that fade in and out of memory. This can be seen in the plants, a metaphor for non- permanence of those memories. The plants are fading and transparent; gone in a moment, and forever changing.

Use of tone is related to my own psychological make up more so in the identity series than in The Garden of Eden series. Though the Garden of Eden series is a personal and emotional body of work, the art is also about the political nature of the body. So while making this particular series I have been interested how nuances in tone can create a physical nature to the flesh. With that said, I am also aware that the nuances in tone do strike up emotions as well, which I am sure can affect the psychological make up of the viewer.


Reagan Lake

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Developing texture has varied from series to series often based upon what I am trying to convey. Some series have thick textures, where others remain thin. For example, the Garden of Eden series partly references historical paintings and have a tighter approach as far as rendering but there is little to its physical texture, the areas with paint is thin and transparent, a reference to memory and the passage of time. My palette tends to change with large consideration of what each piece calls for. Usually my palette choices are made by considering how color relates to the human condition.

hyperaware of responses from the audience, including how some people find the work highly offensive, while others have found it overwhelmingly relatable to their personal histories. Although I try not to let the audience affect my decision making process in the studio, I do believe my art has a specific and intended audience. Viewers who relate to my art the most tend to be women. Even though my language is filtered through a Catholic lens, my audience widens itself to those who may have experienced marginalization within religion.

Currently in my studio, I am thinking a lot about how gender language is used to shape political nuances in the church. Including the use of male pronouns when presumably God is to be genderless. This often times contributes to the gendered relationship to the church and its members.

I try not to think about the audience when making decisions about my creative process, and choices. When I have done that in the past, it makes the work itself less honest. Overthinking the audience can almost make me feel selfconscious about what others may think. Once the work is completed, however, and it enters into the world I am always

As far as my work evolving, I will continue to discuss issues of gender, sexuality, and religion, until I feel I have nothing left to say on the subject. Once I have done that, I am interested in working with women’s based issues outside of a religious context or even issues that relate to the human condition in general, including issues of alcoholism. Thank you for taking an interest in my art and sharing it with your readers.

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ARTiculAction Art Review // Special Edition // Winter 2018  

ARTiculAction Art Review // Special Edition // Winter 2018  

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