(b. 1981, IRN)
Nina Ansari‘s work comprises of bold photographic imagery, drawing, installation and video. Implicitly influenced by the Iranian political background and its multifaceted history, Ansari composes multilayered photographic works, where identity in its situational definitions tends to hold crucial place. Her images, often balancing on the black and grey scale narrate emotional situations that address memory as a ‘Geotop’ for existence and identity formation. Matters of philosophy interconnected with a socio-geographical awareness are a frequent motif in her work and create intellectually informed landscapes where the ‘occidental’ enters a dialogue with the ‘oriental’.
In the exhibition, Ansari contributes two works; her photographic work shows three magnified blurred Polaroid images serving as a study of the philosophy from antiquity to modern ages. Coming from an experimental series of photographic works that the artist had already realized in 2003, the rediscovery of the work is shaping the ground for its recontextualisation as an object of the ‘present’ with an immediate association to the present of the artist herself.
On the back of the neck of the woman, who appears three consecutive times on the picture, one can read the phrase ‘Der Körper ist zur Freiheit verurteilt‘ (EN: The body is condemned to freedom), alluding to the Sartrian theory suggesting that humans are ‘condemned to freedom’ referring to both the intellectual freedom and corporeal emancipation as a priori given states to the human condition. This idea of freedom comes to be undermined or put under question when one considers the position of the artwork in the exhibition, framed in the central dark gray wall, as if ‘imprisoned’. Additionally, the posture of the figure as well as the chromatic choices of the artist implicitly leave a taste of a Self, tormented by emotional experiences of pain, joy, loss,
desire; emotions of a freedom that might have liberating or confining effects.
Facing the photo, the video titled ‘Munition’ shows the artist writing a poem on the wall. Ansari has composed a poem in English (later translated in French) as an accompanying ele- ment for her ‘Munition’ series of works in 2014. The video recorded as a video performance, only merely allows the spectator to read the poem or understand what is happening. At the closing of the video, the poem is read by a voice in English as follows
black and white
aircraft, explosion, erased in places
memory lost in official history
some see guns, some see faces
enter the depths
of the First World War
written by a soldier
to his beloved
from the front lines
Nina Ansari, 2016
Text: Vanessa Souli
Textualised: A word is worth a thousand pictures, Text: Vanessa Souli, BerlinBlue Gallery, Berlin, 2018