CARRIAGEWORKS PRESENTS SYDNEY PREMIERE OF HOSSEIN VALAMANESH: CHAR SOO | MEDIA RELEASE
June 7, 2016
Sydney, Australia: Carriageworks, Adelaide Film Festival, Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art and the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia in association with Sydney Film Festival and produced by Felix Media present the Sydney premiere of HOSSEIN VALAMANESH (in collaboration with Nassiem Valamanesh): CHAR SOO, 2015. Presented from 9 June – 17 July 2016, this video installation places viewers in a four-sided Iranian bazaar to contemplate movement, human interaction and the passing of time. Char Soo is a metaphor for Iran, a country which has been subject to invasion, religious and cultural interaction for centuries.
Hossein Valamanesh was born in Iran in 1949 before immigrating to Australia in 1973. His work combines cultural elements from both countries and, while deceptively simple, is imbued with cultural meanings and personal associations, playing on imagination, memory and emotion. With minimum manipulation of raw resources, he is able to create elegant works with maximum emotional impact while also asking philosophical questions about life and existence.
‘Char Soo’ means ‘four directions’ or ‘four sides’. In terms of a bazaar, the char soo is its main intersection. Made in 2015 in collaboration with his son Nassiem, Hossein Valamanesh’s video installation films all four directions of the intersection, and then places the audience at its centre. Watching four stationary camera shots, the viewer is immersed in the grand bazaar’s scenes and sounds. In the midst of colourful goods from myriad shops and the char soo’s traditional architecture of pointed arches, brick ceiling and a tiled pool, the viewer is able to follow the movement of people from screen to screen. The camera is fixed so as not to dictate what the viewer sees, but to simply observe as the artist did.
Char Soo’s sounds are ambient, and it has neither protagonists nor narration. It is filmed with a normal lens at eye level, without any intervention in the bazaar activity or any changes in the rhythm of its traffic. We seem to encounter a segment of life exactly as it is. However, Char Soo’s apparent dissolves, compression of time, inserts, and the fact that its subjects notice the cameras are constant self-referential reminders that it does not pretend to be a true-to-life presentation.
The absence of narrative, zooming, panning, tilting and voice-over make the notions of time and movement particularly prominent. The work encompasses different times, with real or physical time sensed through the movement of people, the sun’s changing light, and a constantly blinking neon sign. The contemporary era – another kind of time – is evident through the clothing and in technologies such as motorcycles, neon signs and mobile phones. Historical time is also visible in the two-hundred-year-old building. More importantly, the zeitgeist can be seen in the behaviour and interactions between people. Three simultaneous details – the ceiling, the pool, and shops – are inserted at points near the beginning, middle, and end to give a break to the long duration of time and movement.
Also part of the exhibition is Valamanesh’s work Passing Time (2011), a video within a black box that shows the artist’s hands and fingers continuously forming and reforming the infinity sign. There is no beginning or ending as the video plays on a continuous loop, reflecting again upon time and movement, allowing for a quiet place of contemplation and simplicity.
HOSSEIN VALAMANESH (in collaboration with Nassiem Valamanesh): CHAR SOO, 2015 is commissioned by Adelaide Film Festival, Carriageworks, Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art, and the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia. Presented by Carriageworks in association with Sydney Film Festival. Produced by Felix Media.
HOSSEIN VALAMANESH (in collaboration with Nassiem Valamanesh): CHAR SOO, 2015 will be presented at Carriageworks from 9 June until 17 July 2016. The exhibition is free to public and will be open from 10am until 6pm every day.
EXHIBITION DATES: 9 JUNE – 17 JULY 2016, 10AM – 6PM DAILY
CARRIAGEWORKS, FREE ENTRY
ABOUT HOSSEIN VALAMANESH:
Hossein Valamanesh (born 1949, Iran) studied fine art in Tehran before immigrating to Australia in 1973, graduating from the South Australian School of Art in 1977. In 1974 he travelled to central Australia to spend four months with Round Earth Company where he worked with Aboriginal children at a number of different settlements. He has exhibited widely in Australia and in Germany, Poland and Japan, among other countries. Public art commissions include An Gorta Mor, a memorial to the Great Irish Famine at Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney (1999) and 14 Pieces on North Terrace, Adelaide, both in collaboration with Angela Valamanesh. He was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship 1998 and in 2000 was the Asialink artist-in-residence at the National College of Arts in Lahore. His work is included in most Australian state gallery collections and was the subject of a major survey exhibition held at the Art Gallery of South Australia in 2001; a survey of his more recent work was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2002. Valamanesh lives and works in Adelaide. A monograph of his work, titled Hossein Valamanesh, Out of nothingness, was recently published by Wakefield Press with essays by Mary Knights and Ian North. He is represented by Karen Woodbury Gallery Melbourne, and Greenaway Art Gallery. GREY NOISE Dubai.
Nassiem Valamanesh has been working with moving images for more than a decade. Born in Adelaide, Australia he studied filmmaking at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. Designed for cinema, his work lies between narrative filmmaking and video art and is sustained by bold imagery, soundscapes and a sense of humour mixed with melancholy that reflects his unique worldview. Nassiem’s practice is supported through residencies he has undertaken within and outside Australia and also with screen agency funding. A multi-skilled practitioner, he frequently writes, directs, photographs and edits out of his workspace in Melbourne. His titles include ‘Little Noel Wants To Fly’ which screened in competition at the Clermont- Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. ‘My Beijing Friend’ which was acquired by SBS television. The Screen Australia funded short ‘Side By Side’ which screened widely at film festivals in Australia and overseas. His recent work, ‘Distant Words’ was exhibited at the Wollongong City Gallery as part of the 2011 Generations exhibition and screened at the 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival. Currently Nassiem is working on new video works and collaborating with his parents on bringing video into their own art practices.
Carriageworks presents a contemporary multi-arts program that engages artists and audiences with contemporary ideas and issues. The program is artist led and emerges from Carriageworks’ commitment to reflecting social and cultural diversity. The Carriageworks artistic program is ambitious, risk taking and unrelenting in its support of artists. Carriageworks is a cultural facility of the NSW Government and is supported by Arts NSW. The Carriageworks program can be viewed at http://www.carriageworks.com.au