Amen Feizabadi | Telling a Story

Amen Feizabadi (b.1983 in Tehran, lives in Essen, Germany), Telling a Story (Dancing Toranj II …), 2011. Stereo, 7:58

“I saw images when I looked into the hatch of the Toranj for the first time. These images were not just visionary. They were the truths, which I and thousands of other people have experienced from a distance. The truth of finding yourself. The Toranj lost its color, but then, suddenly, it completed its color with the help of the color of truths. The Toranj danced and danced, spun and spun, sang songs and shouted, as if it was a sufi. Now, I look at the Toranj, as if I am looking into my own face in the mirror, I cannot look away from it anymore. And I am hearing the Toranj, its tender whisper echoes in my ear, “Spin with me, dance with me. So you hear. So you see …”

This video tells a Tehran version of the story of mise en abyme - it has been added to the program after a series of auspicious encounters, involving virtual Paradise and sweetness of Zam Zam Cola, Abou, Monir, her driver as a guide to the Tehran Museum of Carpets, all leading to the screening at Sazmanab Platform for Contemporary Arts, Tehran, in August 2012, and meeting Amen there. Hence this video is an epigraph, or, in view of its musicality, a prelude, as well as a postscript to the story; and a testimony of its transformation.

Toranj is one of Iranian patterns which are mostly used in rug designs and for embellishing covers and pages of books. Toranj is usually rhomboid or in almond shape and sometimes is square, oval or round, resembling sun or star, or flowers. This pattern is often set in the middle of the carpet and is filled with leaves and flowers and “Eslimi” patterns. Toranj is also one of the pools in the ancient Paradise patterns. There is no exact information about this pattern’s origin and its primary shape.

Toranj is a Persian figure of mise en abyme, which revealed itself in the imaginal origin of the exhibition on “Iran” first presented en abyme in Paris, and conceived in French post-structuralist terms – it was introduced in negation, “I don’t know what mise en abyme means.” The figure gradually emerged in Tehran, and is emblematized in the traditional carpet design, the toranj. This transformative equivalency is evident in the video, which includes original musical composition and animation spinning recordings of street demonstrations in Iran, voices, sounds, and images into a timeless pattern.


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