Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian work collectively to create installations, paintings, and stop-motion animations that transform found materials in order to critically examine contemporary history-in-the-making. The Dubai-based artists’ animations are composed from thousands of individual works on paper, in which they collage and paint over printed stills from internet videos and television newscasts. By detaching news imagery from its original context, this body of work estranges and opens up its encoded meanings while interrogating the entertainment value of reportage and the voyeuristic role of the spectator as a passive consumer of mass-media spectacle. The artists’ ultimate aim is to break down the “othering” effect of virtual bystanding and promote recognition of our social interdependency and the value of solidarity.
The Rain Doesn’t Know Friends from Foes surveys the animations the artists have made to date and features a selection of related works on paper. The presentation marks the US debut of From Sea to Dawn (2016–17) and Macht Schon (2016), which reflect on the global immigration crisis. Also included are Big Rock Candy Mountain (2015), in which artifacts toppled by ISIS militants thwart their censors by mutating into fanciful mythic beasts; Letter! (2014), which amplifies the performative, media-induced hysteria of a protest by the radical activist group Femen; Reign of Winter (2012–13), a grotesque adaptation of the coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding that underscores the arcane, densely coded nature of ceremonial spectacles; and Just What Is It that Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing? (2010–11), in which media imagery from the 2009 Iranian demonstrations is transformed into a sordid pageant of monstrous animalistic humanoids. By turns joyously irreverent and intensely biting, the works presented here cast a satirical eye on representations of the present, foregrounding the irrationality and violence that underlie our hypermediated reality.
Ramin Haerizadeh (b. 1975, Tehran, Iran), Rokni Haerizadeh (b. 1978, Tehran, Iran) and Hesam Rahmanian (b. 1980, Knoxville, Tennessee) have lived and worked together in Dubai since 2009. They create work independently and together in a collective that constantly grows and contracts to incorporate friends, writers, and artists. Their installations build upon their perception of life as theater while also exposing their process. Generally, their proposals begin with the “creatures” the three artists become, physically and mentally, through their work. Placing emphasis on the importance of “reporting on our time,” they wish to bring attention to the urgencies of the present moment while opening up questions over a spectrum of subjects such as views on art and culture, gender fluidity, and power mechanisms. The collaborative has presented solo exhibitions at Officine Grandi Riparazioni, Turin (2018), MACBA, Barcelona (2017), Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2015), and Kunsthalle Zurich (2015). A monograph of their work, entitled Ramin Haerizadeh Rokni Haerizadeh Hesam Rahmanian, was published by Mousse Publishing in 2015.