Amino Acids
18 December -8 January, 2016

Assar Art Gallery is pleased to present Amino Acids, Vahid Chamani’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Exhibiting eight of his latest oil paintings from his one and only series throughout the past decade, Chamani once again brings up his perpetual socio-cultural concerns: being forced out from the past without arriving at the present; tradition vs. modernity, lack of authenticity and more.

Believing in the exquisite qualities of Persian painting in the Qajar era and the subsequent distasteful furtherance of the arts, Vahid Chamani makes an attempt to travel back through time and repeat it in order to see how painting would have progressed if the Qajar kings had not decided to play the role of reformers and modernizers, and life had continued to change less rapidly. He also desires to personally experience the gradual fulfillment of oil as a medium that reached new heights during the early Qajar era, and take it a step further.

Like the portraits in the Qajar paintings by which he is inspired, Chamani’s human figures and portraits are not intended to be realistic depictions. Unlike them however, they are not icons of power. Instead, they symbolize people of his country in the current state, visually and conceptually considered as icons of social suspension, oscillating between past and present. His disturbed men, women and children, their scars, deep wounds and stitches and their dark and dull eyes, all in all portray the present unsteady, insecure and volatile lifestyle in a poetic and sensual tone.

To him, the people he paints are real individuals whose inner feelings and deliberations have affected their appearance. Their looks signify their unease and inner anxiety derived from their cultural and social instability and disorientation. And the cities, gradually shaped after four years of painting figures and portraits to house them.

Tackling authenticity as defined in Existentialism, Chamani chooses to have a scientific approach towards the matter as he finds it impossible to find a solid definition for it in the arts and humanities. Therefore, he picks amino acid - as a simple organic compound from which protein and therefore living creatures are generated - to picture his own compound structures that could potentially mutate to shape different creatures.

Vahid Chamani was born in 1984 in Tehran and has had seven solo exhibitions in Iran and the US all titled Amino Acids. He is a graduate of Soureh University in Tehran and winner of many awards inside and outside Iran since 2005.