Liste 2021 | Mamali Shafahi: Dastan's Basement
Basel's Liste art fair will host Mamali Shafahi from September 20-26, 2021. Works by the artist are presented at Liste Showtime, and a work will be presented at Sculpture Piazza.
Liste Showtime is a "digital art fair for discovering the newest voices in contemporary art, presented by international galleries and project spaces of the younger generation." For more information click here.
Liste Art Fair Basel 2021
Date: 20 - 26 September 2021
Liste Showtime 2021
15 - 30 September 2021
Dastan presents recent works by Mamali Shafahi at Liste Art Fair Basel 2021. Works by the artist are presented at Liste Showtime, and a work will be presented at Sculpture Piazza.
To fully digest the properties of each medium and master the myriad associations a theme might signify, Mamali Shafahi often engages in projects that require years of practice and revisions. A central theme in these long-term engagements is to challenge the relationship between the artist and the other in a call for participation in the artwork.
Shafahi’s works tend to incorporate the other as a protagonist in their creative processes and discursive premises, revisiting the dichotomy of the artist/audience with a wide range of participants -- most recently the artist's own parents.
"Heirloom Velvet" is the latest part of the ‘Daddy Sperm’ project that Shafahi started in 2012. Fascinated by the transformation he calls "the miracle of life", he explores the force of life and creation as it circulates between humans and from generation to generation. In this series, he investigates the mutations of identities and agencies -- mutations that simultaneously delineate and are delineated by social constructs. For him, the transformation of one drop of liquid into a creative subjectivity in a human body is a fair formulation of this miracle of life.
As a part of the project, in 2012 Shafahi asked his father, a then-72-year-old former wrestler, to start making drawings. The artist was keen to observe if he could find a creative gene shared between them. Since then, his father, Reza, has gone on to develop his own artistic practice and continues to create independently, based on his own inspiration.
Mamali has continued to involve his parents as actors and artists in a multitude of media and works, to take a closer look at the perverse implications of parent-child relationships in a mutual metamorphosis. They have now become a go-to artistic medium of the artist.
In his large-scale installation "Daddy Sperm" at the Palais de Tokyo he opened the space, filled with installation pieces, sculptures and furniture he had designed and produced, with a video in which he tells his father "l’m pregnant". Beside the monitor stood a giant wall constructed as a display for his father’s drawings, and throughout the installation, his experimental docu-fiction film "Nature Morte", in which his parents are the actors, was projected in various formats, developing a sense of ambiguity over creative agency: who is the artist; who the subject?
In his latest treatment of the theme, he is looking back at his own "classical" inheritance through the intergenerational buffer he has created, by making new works based on Reza’s drawings. "Heirloom Velvet" is dedicated to Reza’s free-spirited and audacious imagery, in the form of three-dimensional representations of drawings flocked in brightly-colored monochrome. By committing to an external agency with whom he shares a presupposed and structured kinship, Shafahi brings about a decentralized eventuality. Lacking academic training and hence potentially more daring, Reza sits in a pole opposed to the established artist Mamali is, and these colorful relief works are thus showcases of decentralized agency.
Mamali Shafahi has exhibited in Tehran, Athens, Dubai, Paris, Los Angeles and London. The docu-fiction "Nature Morte" was launched in 2018 at "Projections" in Rotterdam, curated by Martha Kirszenbaum, and developed in his "Daddy Sperm" installation as part of "Prince.sse.s des villes" at the Palais de Tokyo in 2019. "Nerd_funk", his ongoing joint VR-based project with Ali Eslami, featured in the 2019 Vancouver Biennale and at IDFA Amsterdam, and was awarded a Golden Calf at the 2020 Netherland Film Festival.