To Be or Not To Be, That is the Question. And Though, it Troubles Digestion

Spanning almost 20 years, the work of Ramin Haerizadeh is a rare and ambitious feat of the human spirit, carried by the 40-years-old multidisciplinary artist in an endlessly renewable source of vitalist energy and creation, a constant force of mutation and subversion. His everyday activities guide the way to his work, and according to the time and the situation, he picks up a multiplicity of identities to meet everyone and everything from a different angle.

In 2015, Roberta Smith of the New York Time wrote: The action is dominated by Ramin Haerizadeh — bald, bearded and resplendent in changing gowns and roles. The earmarks of an underground classic are abundant. His studio is a theater of the absurd, a space in motion transformed by the tension between play and acting and later converted into collages, diaries and objects, or actions being recorded on films or in photographs. Haerizadeh’s life has been punctuated by displacements and redirections but constantly the artist returns to his works, pulling pre-existing works, adding and withdrawing to the works after they return from exhibitions across the globe and as such they keep being recycled. He refuses to lock up any work in the cellar, the old will give aura to the new. He revisits and reinterprets his earlier work, meditating on the overlapping and contingent nature of the world. Alongside his own shootings subversively playing with all kind of old and new photographic devices, he collects materials from a wild array of existing printed materials: used cardboard postal box protecting a desired work of art, food plastic packaging, oud boxes or downloaded old films posters from the internet, as well as daily objects such as airport souvenirs, small plastic figurines, anatomic models, miniature Tabasco bottle,... Notably, there is his mother’s photo albums and her urge to record her existence through photography and maintain a diary (of her times at a boarding school in the UK until the revolution, the war and post war period in Iran).

All these materials are filtered, Haerizadeh photographs them, scans them, prints them, collages them and re-photographs, re-prints them and again re-prints and re-collages them, he eventually allows or not unrelated objects to appear in a work as an irruption. All put together, we are no more in the domain of photography, nor the domain of printing, the works escape from easy generalization. Instead the artist’s life becomes tangible in the works formed by the stratification of his materials. Haerizadeh’s canvases are uncanny; underlining familiar scenes from the Dubai metro for example or the Mall of the Emirates, a bombarded dentist clinic in Syria, or the CEO office of HSBC, … where the principle of his montages will be to bring incompatibilities to co-exist. Notably unfussy, Differently intentional act of putting stuff together. You take something and seated next to something else in order to pose, but not necessarily to answer. The question about their relationship. You do this not because on its own it’s a particularly interesting thing to do, but because as a context, art give things in relation a capacity to inform that no other framework can.

** In a series on paper paradoxically entitled ‘Still Life’, everything is set in constant flux and transformation, where a protest in Turkey eventually invites the viewer to contemplate the scene on a ‘pause’ mode. Beyond the obvious, the works carry concealed messages about questions around gender, roles and identity, religious intolerance, media manipulation, political propaganda and contemporary art, aspiring ultimately to challenge hegemonic ethics in general.

*Title extracted from the poem ‘Children of the Age’ by Wislawa Szymborska

**Quote by Fred Moten