The Drawers - Pooyan Tabatabaei Commentary by Julie Oakes for Summer Guest Curator, Pooyan Tabatabaei
Six Weeks Of Iranian Art
There is an abiding philosophical question - who are we and why are we here? The answer lies, in part, before the question is even asked, in the undeniable presence of existence. Pooyan Tabatabaei's recent series becomes a viable visual answer to the question. The set-up is simple. A figure, we assume it is a woman, in a chador, interacts with a snowy landscape and from that interaction an integration happens. There is equality between the two. The landscape embraces the cloaked figure. The woman is camouflaged by the billowing second skin. She has an undeniable place in the organic order, even more so than if her identity was clearer for in Tabatabaei's visual interpretation, there is no conflict between the human and the landscape, no assertion on the part of the dominant species to rule, but rather a melding into each other.
The sensation of equable exchange can be broken down within a compositional analysis. When the chador is spotted and closer to the snowy whites of the background, it forms a mute liaison with the footprints, or the patterns of snow on the branches. The figure breaks the static vertical insistence of the trunks of the trees as they have, in turn, broken the continuity of the perfect whiteness. The spotted covering lends itself to the shape of the body or accepts the influence of the wind. The black chador and the white snow are also is engaged in a visual conversation. The stubborn insistence of the dark shape, often abstracting the figure or making it into an anthropomorphic characterization of another species, also has an irreversible part to play in the unfolding of things. The woman in the chador takes up space as a negative shape between positives or as a figure enveloped by the ground rather than sitting upon the background.
The metaphor is grand and well spoken. Between the black and the white, the symbolic positive and negative, the plus and minus, there is a divine balance. The balance is beauty. The equation is perfect and Tabatabaei has stopped the blur of time and recorded the symmetry, between man (or woman) and the earth, between the figure and the ground, between the asking of the question and the receiving of the answer.
Copyright © 2007, Julie Oakes