Large-scale installations, films, collages, sculptures, and a huge floor painting: Curator Martina Weinhart has long looked forward to the first solo exhibition in Germany by the brothers Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh and their friend and colleague, Hesam Rahmanian. The original plan for an opening four months ago was thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic, but now the Schirn Kunsthalle museum in Frankfurt can finally showcase the Iranian trio's works.
A monumental painting created especially for this exhibition stretches across the Kunsthalle floor; strange figures, a blend of human and animal, populate a cosmos full of images, symbols, and memories.
The artist trio's work revolves around the crises in the Middle East, Iran, exile and migration, and the mechanisms of the art market.
The three artists have lived and worked in the United Arab Emirates for years. Their mansion on Dubai's Al Barsha Street "is an extraordinary villa full of things, but it is also a stage, a film set, and movie theater. It is their studio and a cabinet of curiosity," the Kunsthalle Zürich wrote five years ago on the occasion of the artists' first show in Europe.
It is "a test site-cum-monastery, an academy-cum-pleasure dome" where the trio lives and works as a loosely-knit artist collective, sometimes together, sometimes on separate projects and often in cooperation with other artists.
The Schirn exhibition, for instance, also shows two textile sculptures by the Egyptian artist Hoda Tawakol.
The three artists sent Weinhart a creative response to their postponed exhibition, a self-produced video whose protagonist is the passing of time. The camera slowly wanders around tables with emerging works of art, prepared food, pots of paint and photos. A voice declaims the days of the week: "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ..."
Due to constantly changing regulations as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, transportation by ship and rail from Dubai to Frankfurt proved to be a logistical challenge, Weinhart said. And because of the current restrictions, the artist trio was not able to travel to Germany for their exhibition either.
Their works, filled with poetry, speak for themselves. "Expect to be amazed!" Weinhart said.
The exhibition "Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian" runs at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt from September 3 - December 13, 2020.