A Manifesto for Years of Oblivion
Saleh Tasbihi | Writer and Art Critic
“Come Closer, Come Closer, Even Closer”, as a perfect work of art, can be considered a firm manifesto for years of oblivion. For the years in the passage of time, those coming enumerate its characteristics and features one by one and we call it “Our Period” and they call “Years of Oblivion”.
How should we create a social art that is the reflection of its period events despite the fact that in these years of oblivion and affliction any word, according to Hafez’s method and manner, must be said in fourteen narratives (many ways)? This, however, becomes possible by watching Mohammad Parvizi’s new work of art.
As a writer and teacher in the field of art, Mohammad Parvizi has always adopted a slow and precise, trimmed and theoretical policy and trend in his former works, whether in performance or other fields. We knew him as a “writer who does artistic activities” and his former works (such as Imagination Lady play) was very much interpretive of his opinions in his numerous articles and writings. Creativity, audacity and innovation were placed in subsequent levels.
Now in the winter 1391 (2012-13) we suddenly confront with a totally different work in which, according to what said at the beginning, we observe the hardest function of art, that is to say the record of the characteristics of our period:
Ambiguity: The ambiguity you face at the beginning of entering the work is completely directed to prepare the following explicitness. Brilliant music and perfect play of Atena Eshtiyaghi in white wedding dress sitting on perfect countenance of Pegah Ahangarani is not the endless tune of a melody. It is the repetitive narration of stories Pegah recounts, that is both herself and the other one in her role. She asks and answers herself and beside these, it is the addressee who climbs up and down on all the boards and scaffolds. Addressee’s walking in the work is in itself a part of the performance. The chirp sound of boards and the player’s monologue and violin sound, in constant interaction with each other, prepare the surrounding for entering the next station.
Walking: Walking is the human’s first means for moving and participating in the environment. The artwork designer intelligently applies this simple opportunity to engage his addressee from the very beginning. He has forecasted and devised a long vestibule, a covered staircase and local lights in order to place him from the beginning under a pressure that is the essence of the work. Black fabrics like blindfolds and red annoying lights make walking, this human’s simple action, worrisome and stressful.
There is even a devised platform to go up and down. It’s you alone in the queue one, in a passageway in which going and association, shoulder to shoulder, is not possible. You walk and walk. The work vestibule can be likened to an endless hall in closed communities where man always feels himself in. And according to rules written at the beginning of the exhibition, there is no way to return and one should endure. He should walk and walk and expect something better to happen.
Return: But returning to the first environment reveals the vanity of this hope. That white-worn player, similar to death violinist or life angel (it makes no difference here), is seated and playing till eternity. And again, you confront a face that is descending into cold from a smile or an amorous appointment. In the picture on the ground, there is a lover woman whose love is fading. Cold makes her old and extremely exhausted. She cracks and it seems as if these conditions and the relentless rush of occurrences fragment her suddenly and succumb.
Verbosity: In walking and hiking in this endless vestibule, the player’s voice is always heard and we see his picture everywhere. The style of film editing is also based on this multiplicity. This intentional verbosity results in the addressee’s anxiety and his nerves’ jangling. Here verbosity is distinguished not as the artist’s mistake but as a careful and controlled tool on his behalf. In other words the designer has deliberately attempted to have verbosity so that to emphasize on the inner tension of the work. Although they are repeated on a light music background, different sounds and the intersecting sections of the picture are with you until the end of the work and do not let you feel comfortable. In this respect we can consider the realistic aspect of Parvizi’s artwork distinguished and outstanding. This verbosity is quite familiar in Iranian society: the fear caused by empty space and giving opinion on anything, putting people under pressure to change their minds, taking and talking, turning up music and TV simultaneously, and talking and shouting of a group’s members near each other are characteristic of our current days. This verbosity in the repetition of pictures for the main slap and final loud shout is the conductor instrument.
Explicitness: When faces, among uniform squares set on each other, talk and shout nervously and impatiently, just see the house of detection and the arrested person in prison clothes so that everything is expressed very explicitly and precisely like staring at the sun.
All the preliminaries are used to express the essence of the work. The artist has not devoted himself to details at all and has considered a familiar role for a renowned actor who beyond his political appearance plays the role of an investigator and a prisoner. The role, by picking up a phone like that of prison, is cut and he talks to you and tells you friendly about his trouble. The amorous text of previous monologues changes into an arrested guy’s defense. It is not possible to talk about an apprehension more explicitly than this and send a message for those coming that what was going on in 1391 (2012-13) Iran and what happened.
But let’s go beyond this and observe the behavior of the investigator and prisoner in our individual lives. How long is going to last facts like these: our answer to each of the everyday accusations we bring against ourselves; the pressure we put each other in; and the accusations which only in the Appointment Time, face to face, even behind the window, whatever it will be, it is familiar and can be transformed into agreement and consonance, but there is no sign of its presence among others. How much should we investigate each other? This investigation is in fact a restatement. It is the accusation and exemption of oneself too and not only confined to prisons.
It seems as though I am falling in love again: In the last vestibule which is long and tortuous, the final interspace happens. “It seems as though I am falling in love again” and the last light and contemplative tune offload all the pressure in the final long way. The artist offers a familiar oriental solution to us. In coming closer, and closer, even closer than where you are it seems as if Hafez, among all these pressures and individual and collective separations and disconnections in a narrow dark red passage, appears and says: your love will save you …