Wandering through Watching and Being Watched
Abbas Akbari | Ph.D. in Art Research (A Member of Academic Board, University of Kashan, Faculty of Architecture and Art)
Recurrent visits from a gallery before visiting the following exhibition brings about prejudgment in the addressee. This kind of prejudgment, of course arises from the concept of the stable and invariable atmosphere of gallery in any exposition. Removing such a primary judgment is the artist’s responsibility and measures in order to present a new work of art. This takes place when the artist creates a new atmosphere in the previous one. This matter may look like that former space but in fact is a new place! In such conditions gallery is not only a place for demonstration and exposition but is a one for the occurrence of work and in fact is a part of the work.
Achieving such a quality was the first characteristic of Mohammad Parvizi’s video performance for me which I faced with at the moment of entering Shirin gallery_ the place where this performance occurred. The narrow entrance stairs which always take the addressee to the front open space of the gallery, in this performance, was transformed into a vestibule which drew him into himself. The inside space of the gallery looked strange in this performance too. A new definition of an invariable place was presented here. At the first part, the gallery floor with alternative installations of stairs exhibited different viewpoints of live music and video. In this installation the addressee once observed the performance from above like a viewer, and he was later observed as a part of the work. This exchanging of the situation, in a way or another, can be interpreted as the author’s death; by this policy the artist allows the addressee to perform the work inside it for few moments and be observed by others. Being seen means that the addressee too, as the space, is a part of the work; participates and plays in it. Among the main parts of the performance, there designed isolated spaces where exists only a video which repeats the performance dialogue. These passages cut the long pass of the work and remind the addressee his position as being “addressee”. But the heart of the work is an installation which consists several video chambers resembling meeting cabin. In each of these cabins the video of the main actress is being displayed. In the middle part the actress, behind a window, is uttering some words not heard. The phone in front of her makes the addressees curious so that they interact with her by picking it up. But doing so does not result in hearing! But many words are heard! In this case the addressee realizes that he is in the actress’s shoes. He is not visiting anybody but is being visited. Here, lack of communication creates a new kind of communication. This interchange, with regard to the background of the reality of such an installation induces him to think. This section of Mohammad Parvizi’s video performance has such a feature that makes it distinguished from other performances done in recent years in Iran. This feature is seen in another part of the work but with a different preparation. The addressee, in the rest of the work, confronts a video which is exhibited inside a small room. But that time, before seeing the video and its performance he visits himself in the full size mirror in front of the small room. In this section, in addition to this interchange, the space expands in the mirror too.
The last part of the work, like the first one, is a narrow hallway where the main dialogue of the video is played with a soft echo: come closer, come closer, even closer. This dialogue which is also the title of the play receives a new meaning. You have been called as the addressee! Being called is another reminding to the addressee that you have not gone to visit but you are being visited. By this notification the addressee, unlike the entrance of the work, is not that hasty to exit the place. In this wandering and walking inside the work, the addressee’s mind thinks to the action he has been engaged with allover the performance. This end gives the addressee the chance to find himself again and think to what he has already played. Therefore the play does not finish but starts in another one.
Work of art, done or exercised by whatever medium, should make the addressee stand in front of which. It should flow in his mind and go out of the exhibition with him and continue its life.