The painter and filmmaker Atousa Bandeh, from Shiraz and currently based in Amsterdam, will use two of my poems in her new short film Exile Triptych. Her film will have its first screening at the opening night of her art exhibition of paintings and drawings at the Lumen Travo art gallery in Amsterdam. Her feature film Day I Disappeared won an award at Rotterdam Film Festival in 2011.
The exhibition opening tomorrow is titled Dynamism of the Dream. Flyer text of the exhibition *By Arturo Desimone:
Dynamism of the Dream
For her first show at Lumen Travo, artist and filmmaker, Atousa Bandeh presents a series of drawings and videos
“In recent years the visual artist and filmmaker Atousa Bandeh has created an impressive series of drawings, both in large and small sizes. Drawing, she says, is direct and intimate.
Pencil and inkpen are far different tools than the films that established her reputation, like prizewinning The Day I Disappeared.
But the importance of narrative, depiction of stories, the innate incentive to imagining pictures and images, surface in a similar way.
In her drawings she shares the wealth of her vulnerability with the viewer, that is to say, with those viewers who are attentive to poetry.
A certain antenna is needed to grasp the symbols and references of these lively and attractive compositions.
Atousa came of age during the Iranian revolution, she saw the hopes and catastrophic betrayal of a cause. She left Iran at the age of 19 and now lives and works in Amsterdam, often returning to her native Shiraz. “Because political dialectics wrested themselves into all aspects of my life, I have always resisted the pressures here to conveniently politicize my art simply because I am Iranian, to be at once victim and indignant. There is a friction in me, a preference for dreams and my memories. Yet everything, anywhere, life reality, personal symbols, are also political, it is effortless, inescapable” In several works the central figure is surrounded by symbolic elements which by way of their repetition create a movement in Bandeh’s visual work.
Subverting what would otherwise be mere decorative elements surrounding her characters, Bandeh uses the repetition of unsettling symbols that in their repitition and structure sometimes play with the patterns in Islamic art history. These repetitions and patterns serve a hypnotic, mystical function, psychological and political at once, evading all lightness while using light and shadow. The paintings can move between the remembered innonence girlhood’s coming of age, to a forensic map of living ruins.
Her native Shiraz is near ruins that are beloved to Persians. These and a more personal map of ruins are a setting for the play with dreams, imagos, phantoms.
Italian Renaissance has always been one source of stimulus for Atousa Bandeh; indeed we may discern a Madonna-like composition (both in the art and in the artist, a mother whose small children appear as well in her drawings and paintings.) While the drawings abound with connections to the major themes of an Iranian history and culture, the preeminent aspect is that of personal stories.
“My art and drawings have a lot to do with the force of dreams and memories, how memories color your state and perceptions of the world despite the world’s being ever-changing, The dynamism of the dream”
Atousa Bandeh lets her soul crawl into every aspect her work and into the corners of rooms she has painted. She enjoys an artistic freedom that flows over into a realm of considerable output. This unleashed freedom is witnessed also in a material sense, with collaged ricepaper, coloring, hatching and supplies that contribute to an inviting dynamism of the dream.
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(video sample of 2011 film “Day I Disappeared”)