January 18, 2010 Farzan Sadjadi – “Between a rock and a hard place”
18th of January – 20th of February 2010
Farzan Sadjadi’s time at the military has had a distinct influence on the theme of his art. While he describes his military service as absurd, this period had a significant impact on his life, and is a major source of inspiration. During that period he continually found himself torn between performing his duty as a soldier while being true to his values as a human being.
Emerging alone from the “Seven Positions”, Farzan Sadjadi delivers his powerful compositions to remind us of the paradoxical world we live in. The subjects contemporary, the works provocative, the brush strokes mature. Sadjadi takes us to desolate and cold landscapes. The theme illustrates the existence of mankind without his presence. A subtle, yet powerful, reminder that being alive is a far cry from living. While tearing down the notion that the world is pure, the canvas provides evidence that the disenfranchised are among us, whether they are behind prison walls, or fighting for existence on the cruel, wintery streets. Through his vision, we find ourselves transported to an unpleasant winter day, where the snow has already lost its immaculate purity, In a world where beauty and violence continually coexist. Wondering whether we are alive, or just living, caught “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”.
Why the exhibition title “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”?
The art work “Cable Theft” is a significant part of the series. The work was inspired by the memory of a vision, of what happened to me during my service as a Military Policeman (MP). I was responsible for tracking down soldiers who were absent without leave (AWOL). I did not care about catching the missing soldiers, but it was my duty. Part of the process of tracking down the missing soldiers was contacting the local authorities in areas where these soldiers lived to obtain information on their whereabouts. On one occasion, I received a letter from the authorities suggesting that MPs not bother searching for a particular individual that was AWOL. Wondering why we requested more information. He was already in the local prison. What for? “Cable Theft”. A colorful, yet frightening, vision came to me at the time. It remained with me over the years, and as I peeled away layers of the image in my mind, I was left with the piece you see today.
Why dogs, then?
When life is routine, even a mundane event gains significance. The Dogs are dogs. They are not representations of anything else. I get inspired by what I see. During the time I was putting this series together, I was being bothered by the stray dogs in my neighborhood. At first they would not let me sleep at night. After a while, observing them, even feeding them, I began to develop an affinity for them. There is always something more than meets the eye. While I see them playing and fooling around in the snow, I can’t help but realize there is an underlying effect. They are learning to fight, learning to survive. establishing hierarchy. Natural Selection, no calculation.
What is the process of your work, your relationship with your medium?
Initially, it was economically driven! Over time, it provided many qualities such as transparency, its viscosity, and its “Quick-dry” ability, that convinced me to keep on going with that medium. I like working within constraints. I try to go as far as possible with my medium. The use of household paint limits me, forces me to be more deliberate. That’s good for me. I want to push things to the limit, essentially “wringing blood out of a stone”.
The art editor of Time Out, Christopher Lord, has pointed you as “one of Iran’s bright new artists”… what do have to say about that?
Well, anyone who knows me will attest that I do not take compliments well. Of course, I am grateful for the acknowledgement, but I am my own worst critic. I just try to paint well, however the more you learn the harder painting becomes. I still look upon my earlier work, “parody of war I and II”, my last two works before being recognized, with some nostalgia, and wonder if the new work measures up. I am hardly satisfied with my work . . . if there weren’t any deadlines, the creative process would go on and on . . . that is the only thing that truly matters to me. I am always focusing on my art. If Chris thinks that, I am very flattered.”
Text and interview by Zo Rrow