Gohar Dashti and his Iran Untitled series
Gohar Dashti received her MFA in Photography from Tehran University of Art in 2005. For the past 17 years, she has produced large-scale photography with a particular focus on social issues. His work references history and contemporary culture, as well as the convergence of anthropological and sociological perspectives; Employing a unique, quasi-theatrical aesthetic, she brings a diverse intellectual and cultural background to inform and elaborate on her perception of the world around her.
Gohar Dashti in this series portrayed a counter-narrative of his homeland in both form and essence of the work. She started “doing” her photographs with “Today's Life and War” (2008) and followed the same path in “Slow Decay” (2010) and “Volcano” (2012). In these three series, consistent with the main flow of staged photography, she took care to embed a narrative form in the background of her photos, even if this narrative fades little by little. In "Iran, Untitled", if there is a spatial unit which itself allows the narration to be developed and the very title of the series which reveals a meta-narrative, yet here the place is no longer a place but a dismissal . The place is a desert in the middle of nowhere.
On the other hand, narrations of any form are generally based on language, although in Dashti's Iran the relationships between people are not primarily a vocalized relationship. The relations of persons are the relations of bodies.
A group in a hole raised their hands in silent objections. Another group, on a carpet that is not a magic carpet, organizes a wedding ceremony. A group of women cry alone and quietly. A group of young people lie anxiously on a mattress waiting for an incident. Other young people seem trapped on the slide. Maybe also a few teenagers in a bathtub longing to be bathed in the sun. Another group in preparation but not anticipated goes on a trip. Finally, the young soldiers launched a war game in the frontier without borders.
The photographer has placed pieces of this land on this desert. The horizon of this vast desert slowly rises and leans and lets people breathe. Dashti remade this situation in the middle of the desert and planted part of his imagination on this inflexible land. Pieces of his imagination sound like pieces of reality from his homeland.
These pieces are thrown rather cramped into this vast territory, telling not a story but a glimpse. Reality is established from this compactness and expanse. We don't see the event; we are thrown into this suspension to constitute the story ourselves.
One wonders if Dashti's photos are a clue to a constitution or are they perplexing us. Dashti's “desert” is not an arid desert and neither is our homeland. Mehran Mohajer (photographer)
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