Maryam "Mimi" Amini | "Self-Studies In Flight Methods": Dastan+2

29 November - 20 December 2019 +2

Dastan is pleased to announce Mimi Amini’s solo exhibition titled “Self-Studies in Flight Methods” opening concurrently on November 29, 2019 at three spaces in Tehran: Dastan+2, 009821 Projects, and Vatttan. The exhibition will continue through December 20, 2019 at Dastan+2 and Vatttan, and through December 6 at 009821 Projects.

Iman Safaei, founder and artistic director at 009821 Projects, debuts his latest design project, “Folder”, by designing an extensive folder that details all three segments of Mimi Amini’s “Self-Studies in Flight Methods”. The publication, produced in collaboration with Dastan, will be launched at all three locations at the project’s opening.

“Self-Studies in Flight Methods” is Mimi Amini’s second solo exhibition at Dastan. Her work has been previously exhibited in more than ten solo exhibitions in Iran and abroad, including “Eleven 11” (Dastan+2, November 2016), “The Underworld and its Emergent Effects” (duo show with Mamali Shafahi, Dastan’s Basement, May 2016), as well as numerous local and international exhibitions.

Multidisciplinary artist Maryam "Mimi" Amini (b. 1977, Isfahan, Iran) is best known for works that bear minimal relevance to reality. Through years of diverse practice in drawing, painting, collage, installation and performance, she has produced artworks that escape commodification, yet create new forms and dialogs. Mimi's style dominantly moves towards abstraction, but figurative elements and unique 'lifeforms' maintain their presence.

In “Self-Studies in Flight Methods”, the artist initially challenges the idea of ‘inside versus outside’ spatiality by presenting her work concurrently at three different spaces in Tehran: Dastan+2, Vatttan and 009821 Projects. Each site features a different yet inherently-connected part of her work. The project, conceived as a journey and “a conscious and continuous effort to reflect ideas and a new vitality in a three-year-long period —a return to self in ontology and aesthetics”, works like ritual: each of the layers of her project are displayed at a different venue based on the original use attributed to the space. As so, her elaborate paintings, installations and video are shown at a gallery, i.e. Dastan+2, a series of silk-screens are exhibited at 009821 Projects, a venue specialized in prints, multiples and publications, and the artist’s salt containers are on view at Vatttan, which is mainly designed as a concept store.

Mimi Amini’s ‘Flags’, ‘Nomads’, and ‘Skins’ are on view at Dastan+2. These ‘paintings’, created using a plethora of artistic and industrial techniques are projected into the space as an installation of her path —the journey the artist has taken following her interpretation of “One Hundred Fields”, a book on mysticism by the eleventh-century Persian poet and mystic Khwaja Abdullah Ansari. The artist writes: “My path follows the Hundred Fields, where each field is housed within the other, and once one was trodden, a new field would appear from the previous.”

The exhibition space has itself become part of the journey: the venue has not merely been modified to accommodate the work but has become part of it instead. The exhibits are not limited to Mimi Amini’s three-dimensional paintings and installation: the show includes a video detailing the ritualistic action of the artist painting over her hand with gold leaves, while a ‘map of healing’, showing circles within circles and following “One Hundred Fields”, lies beneath her arms. Moreover, the exhibition’s sound design has been based around sounds that Mimi Amini recorded through her frequent walks in vicinity of her house.

Naturally-formed salt crystals and a pile of iron shards are part of the installation at the gallery space. In many healing rituals, salt and saltwater are used for the cleansing of one’s cells. Salt, the artist believes is “a natural element abundant on earth —it is easily obtainable, and as such, it is the most convenient means for self-healing.” Meanwhile, the iron shards symbolize “getting rid of extra weight from one’s spirit”, and thus, in addition to the salt, allude to the process of healing, also represent ultimately losing enough extra load and being able to fly and hover.

At 009821 Projects, twenty-one editions of screen prints, based on a painting from an anonymous painter who signed their name as “Butterfly”, will be on display. Mimi Amini first encountered the original painting “in an old renovated mansion in the heart of Isfahan”, and after some research realized that “a rather elusive artist of Armenian descent in Isfahan’s Jolfa district frequently painted the image upon the request of affluent pregnant women. They had faith in the angel [depicted in the paintings], a symbol of love and protection, and put the painting in their children’s rooms.”

After purchasing a version of the painting and “living with it for over a year”, Mimi Amini decided to create multiple versions of it, each with alterations in color. In this part of the project, exhibited at 009821 Projects, the repetitious nature of creating screen prints has contributed to the ritualistic essence of “Self-Studies in Flight Methods”. As so, “driven by the energy” that Mimi Amini received from “Butterfly”, she titled this segment as “In Collaboration with Butterfly!”.

The final segment of the project, exhibited at Vatttan, comprises of a series of salt containers, titled “Producing a Spectrum of Healing”, in addition to the same video piece shown at the gallery. The glass salt containers act like souvenirs, i.e. a synecdoche of the whole journey. Located at a farthest location from the city’s center, while potentially acting as the journey’s end for the viewer, the venue can also act as a first layer into the spiritual voyage.