From 4 February to 16 April, the Officine dell’Immagine in Milan is proud to present, the second, exclusively Italian, solo exhibition assigned to Gohar Dashti (Ahvaz, Iran - 1980), the Iranian photographer who previously exhibited in the Milan Gallery in 2013.
Curated by Silvia Cirelli, the exhibition presents the recent work of this young and talented performer, an artist who in recent years has made herself clearly distinguishable by increasing international attention. Exhibiting in prestigious museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the National Gallery of Arts in Washington, Gohar Dashti has become one of the prominent figures of the Middle Eastern art scene. Therefore, at the Milan show, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts has devoted an important solo exhibition to her, which will be presented in the same way as her most recent projects.
A constant witness to the complex social and cultural fabric of Iranian society, Dashti is distinguishable by her signature style of rare beauty, which is capable of projecting into the metaphorical dimension of art, the collision of seemingly opposite traits: irony and bitterness, charm and suffering, severity and evasion. The refinement of her lexicon, closely linked to an implicitly autobiographical connotation, results in daring and incisive creative symmetry, where the aesthetic of the allegory reveals itself as a constant focal point. The title of the exhibition, LIMBO, takes its cue from the artist’s last project, the emblematic series Stateless (2014-2015), presented in Milan as the central body of the exhibition.
Executed in the remote desert landscape of the island of Qeshm, the Iranian territory overlooking the Persian Gulf, the series offers unspoiled panoramas, where an almost overbearing nature frames scenarios from melancholy memory. Despite the indisputable sublimation of the surrounding landscape, the protagonists of the shots seem to clearly inhabit a place that does not belong to them. They find themselves vulnerable, in front of a road they do not recognise. It is this silent sense of abandonment, and the pain of separation from their land, history and consequently their culture, that inspired Gohar Dashti in the realization of one of her most poetic series, a project that absorbs the suffering of the difficult condition of refugee and exile, returning the identity of memory to those who unfortunately - because of war, disease and abuse - were forced to abandon it.
The evocation of a surreal landscape in perfect balance - or voluntary imbalance - with the human element, is also recognizable in the series Iran, Untitled (2013) in which the artist focuses on the emotional morphology of the individual. Like the evocative Japanese haiku, known for their ability to capture a feeling using a sensory language, so Gohar Dashti, via the power of her photographs, can strip human vulnerability, translating the authentic emotive essence.
Of similar lyricism are the triptychs of the project Me, she and the others (2009), in which, even if you abandon the dialogue with nature, remains nevertheless, the magnetism of a confession both private and collective. Dominant this time are women's issues and the subsequent role of women in Iranian culture in three different social contexts: at work, in their homes and in the public sphere.
Gohar Dashti was born in Ahvaz (Iran) in 1980, and currently lives and works in Tehran (Iran) and Boston (USA). She graduated in 2003 at the Fine Art University of Tehran in 2005 then received her M.A. in Photography. She has participated in several art residencies and scholarships such as the DAAD award (2009-2011), Visiting Arts (1mile2 project), Bradford / London, UK (2009), International Arts & Artists (Art Bridge), Washington DC, USA (2008 ).
She has held numerous exhibitions whether in important foreign museums, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (2015), the Mart in Rovereto (2015), the Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney (2015), the Institut des Cultures d ' Islam in Paris (2015), the Sharjah Art Museum (2014), the Hong Kong Art Center (2014), the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2013), the Fine Art Museum in Boston (2013), the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, or the Grimmuseum in Berlin; or participation in Festival appearances and Biennials, such as the recent Beijing Photo Biennial, Photo Istanbul (2014), the Asian Art Biennial (2013), the Fotofestival in Oslo (2013), Le Printemps de Septembre festival in Toulouse (2012) and the Photoquai in Paris (2009).
Her works are part of important public collections, such as those of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston; the National Gallery of Art, Washington; the Getty Research Center, Los Angeles; the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority of Dubai and the Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon (India).