Hadi Fallahpisheh performs alone in the darkroom. The lack of light impairs his vision and, consequently, movements become absurd and cumbersome. To make his work he uses different tools and methods: balls and flashlights, ceramic and photographic techniques.
Hadi Fallahpisheh: Good
11 September - 7 November 2020
Efremidis Gallery, Berlin
The performance has elements of slapstick comedy. Isolated in a pitch-dark room, the artist throws a ball—again and again—at a sheet of metallic Kodak paper. Sometimes missing its target altogether, when the ball does hit the paper, a bulb lights up. The flash causes a photogram and by exposing different objects, creates faint outlines and grids. In the following step, he uses a flashlight to make line drawings on the light-sensitive paper.
Hadi Fallahpisheh shrugs at the rules: he crosses boundaries between media and ideas and misuses his materials. The strength of his photographic surfaces lies in their remarkable painterly appearance. It’s only logical that the artist stretches the thick photographic paper to mimic and also taunt the idea of painting.
The resulting artworks are twofold: a document of a lonesome performance and an auratic prop. The former is emphasized by the fact that, like a shroud, the works fit the proportions of the artist’s body and, as such, they somberly reflect his actions in the darkroom. The latter toys with the most common expectations of a work of art while simultaneously undermining its status and stability.
Motivated by a mischievous impulse, his works depict figures that are often lonely, behind bars or even lost at sea. The crude scenes are dramatized and sometimes sexualized. But in the end, the narrative remains only a suggestion and hangs the desire for a punchline or a resolution out to dry. The story is present but it is never actually told.
Institutional or bureaucratic intimidation are repeated themes: the threat of persecution, expulsion and entrapment persist. By raising the question of belonging, Hadi Fallahpisheh taps into the fear of being excluded and, as a result, addresses the experience of solitude, the human condition in all its madness. But there’s hope: the artist also shows how prisons, especially self-imposed or imagined ones, can be overcome.
For Good, his first exhibition at Efremidis, Hadi Fallahpisheh has made a new series of photographic works, several ceramic sculptures and an installation in the gallery’s window space.
Hadi Fallahpisheh (*1987, Iran), lives and works in New York, USA. In 2015, he participated in the Creative Practices Program at the International Center for Photography in New York. In 2016 he received an MFA in Photography at Bard College. Currently a teaching fellow at Harvard University, Fallahpisheh was the recipient of the Artadia award in 2018. His work has been exhibited at Petzel, Sculpture Center, Tramps, Simone Subal Gallery, Kai Katsumiya, NYC; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, NYC, Zurich; Blum & Poe, LA; Central Fine, Miami; Fahrenheit Madrid, Madrid; Dastan Gallery and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran.