"Fitting In", mattress foam, marker, clear lacquer, 90x90x50cm, 2016
"The print is fuzzy, but behind it stands a man", drywall, wax, print transfer, screws, 54x65cm, 2016
"Walk with a Sunday partner", drywall, wax, print transfer, spray paint, screws, 54x65cm, 2016
"Long November march", machine carvings on drywall, wax, screws, 54x65cm, 2016
"Many points of view fit into this window", machine carvings on drywall, wax, spray paint, screws, 93x123cm, 2016
"I expected a dog, but got a mandog and pistol-horn", machine carvings on drywall, wax, print transfer, automotive lacquer, spray paint, pencil, screws, 123x163cm, 2016
"Vorwärts! Still bleiben!", machine carvings on drywall, wax, automotive lacquer, spray paint, pencil, screws, 123x163cm, 2016
"The moon is my favorite candle", machine carvings on drywall, wax, print transfer, automotive lacquer, spray paint, pencil, screws, 123x163cm, 2016
"This city was built on wheels and steers", machine carvings on drywall, wax, automotive lacquer, pencil, screws, 93x123cm, 2016
"Black Shimmer", machine carvings on drywall, wax, spray paint, screws, 93x123cm, 2016
"Can't see through the window? Smash it!", metal, automotive lacquer, print transfer, wax, mattress foam, screws, 55x108x5cm, 2016
"Hats off!", metal, automotive lacquer, graphite, print transfer, mattress foam, screws, 56x56x5cm, 2016
Untitled, metal, automotive lacquer, graphite, mattress foam, screws, 56x56x5cm, 2016
"At Night", print transfer, automotive spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 50x50cm, 2016
"Sax and Modernism", print transfer, graphite, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 50x50cm, 2016
"Bugs On My Sole", print transfer, wax, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 40x40cm, 2016
"Wall 1", print transfer, spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, wood, 90x180cm, 2016
"Wall 2", print transfer, spray paint, wax, screws, machine carvings on drywall, wood, 90x180cm, 2016
"Mirak Djamal IRONIMUS '91", print transfer, automotive spray paint, spachel, screws, machine carving on metal, wood, chain, 2x60x90cm, 2016
"Seat for One", polyester mattress foam, 60x60x80cm, 2016
"A Hand", print transfer, spray paint, wax, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 40x40cm, 2016
"On Wheels", print transfer, automotive spray paint, screws, machine carving on metal, wood, wheels, 2x60x110cm, 2016
"Bleibende Eindruecke", print transfer, ballpoint pen, screws, drywall, artist frame, 50x50cm, 2016
Galerie Rolando Anselmi is pleased to present “Mirak Djamal IRONIMUS '91”, a solo exhibition by Mirak Jamal. The exhibition takes its title from a drawing made in Cologne, Germany – the artist's childhood residence of the time. At the gallery space Jamal will present a site-specific accumulation of works allowing us to enter a new imaginary terrain revolving around a revisitation of an old drawing.
In 1991, the parents of the artist would encourage the pre-teen artist to enter a drawing into a caricature contest in Würzburg, Germany titled “IRONIMUS '91”. Having made it into the selection, the work became published in a German caricature journal in company of adult satirists and political caricaturists. The stylized drawing, titled “Cool”, depicts a seemingly romanticized alleyway – undoubtedly inspired by cartoons and his familiar surroundings in Cologne, Germany.
Using this drawing as an entry point, Jamal navigates between the factual and fictitious - at once excavating and proposing anew. Utilitarian materials such as drywall panels, wood, mattress foam, and steel sheets, are transformed into objects of undeterred idealism bearing amplified figures, automotive gradients, sensitive machine carvings, and photographic anecdotes. Interior and exterior worlds are
then reconciled through fractures of a strong personal past, and a surreal and yet familiar contemporary experience.
If you only had to pic just one image from an entire two-hour movie. Moving pictures are a peculiar one. WHERE TO STOP/WHERE TO STEP IMAGES MOVING in from here we begin. THIS NEUKOELLN SATIRICAL the parade that has shaped this old man masquerade. AT LAST OF AGE on skin he bears this at the least, smoothly. THE STREET CODE CLOSE TO THE PULSE GUTTER ON HIS ARM SUNG HEROES folk ones too he came to look up upon, the whole colorful lot. THE STORY: 1991 COLOGNE GERMANY. Someone once said that idealism is for the young, romanticism for the old. BELT AND STRAP BEHOLD dust deceits THIS IS MOVING FRESH IN INK IN flesh in decomposed postures, noses longer than average. HARSH LIGHT DIMMED LIGHT LIGHT A STAGE what cast, what CHARACTERS SHADOWY FIGURES BY THE ALLEYWAY AT THE POST BY THE BENCH YOUR VERY GROCERY STORE. The street lamp points bent backwards towards that which is then, and a house plant is attracted to the moon. Standing in form this FAMILIAR PLACE ITS SMASHED WINDOWS WITHIN SIGHT LAPTOP GREYS UP ABOVE AND SHIT LIL INSECTS TO GRACE THIS SOLE of the dragging, my pants sagging though I should have grown out of that by now. REPETITION AND RHYME repeats and resilience. The train trembles these insects I speak of, they are ancient and learned men WE HAVE DRAGGED MANY MANY WE HAVE SHARED PATHS WITH shared interests even. SECRET TALES BEHIND THIN VEILS. Do you see these city emblems on my back? SO MANY HOW MANY STEPS FORWARD TO CONNECT THE DOTS THE STUDS on this belt, the medallion on this beer. Insanity is the cure I STUTTER THIS THREAD threatening between what’s what and what’s not. MOVING IMAGES ARE DIFFICULT WHAT IS THAT danger at close range illuminating the colony. CONCRETE REALISM he ass grabs gently, though persistent THROUGH THE NEBULOUS DESERT TREADING. So innocent then. So dumb now. THE RETURN you may call it PART II, though some claim never to have been there. We have been here, I am not crazy. THE SOFT SPOKEN WALL THE PAVEMENT LITTLE PEBBLES PRESSED TO IMPRESS CRAPPY PEBBLES THE LAYERED BRICKS THE MANY WALKS we have been cursed many times, spat upon by regulars we are blessed to stand here. The weather has been grey mostly, the forecast is just as good, yeah. I prefer dimmed light anyway. The stage: FACES FISTS FACES FISTS SOME COLOR the audience demands, and all that JAZZ TO THE BEAT THE STORIED FISTS in the gravel in the air, the stink here, still, ah this Berlin air, hovering forever. 2016 FAMILIARITY HMM THIS WE DREAM WE CAN ONLY DREAM and are awakened by a cousin: THE GRADIENT. Of speed and bullied cars, laughed at, the gloss paint job on this flesh, I carry it. It flashes. Even when I lay. YOU CAN'T SEE ME but I carry it within. HUMBLED MACHINE OWNERS SPEED clumsily SPEED proceed MOMENTS THEY MELT CARS CRASH BUT here we go engraved at a standstill STOP. They do mark speed limits after all. The shimmer I can only wear it with insecurity, I have to, I transverse with it in camouflage. But to resist is another case. I haven't adapted fully. I have not grown that much, yet. You won't find beans in my house, I walk out to get my coffee. THEY STAY WE MOVE THEY SAY the first cave carvings were meant to be animations anyway. And this breeze lies beneath the skin. YES A PATINA OF CRUMBS THESE DAILY STREET RITUALS AS WALKED BY the boy THE NOWMAN, still ape though: NOW the paradoxical twist...a phone rings from an old acquaintance KÖLLE ALAAF THESE PEOPLE I LOOK AROUND I SEE I HEAR THESE STORIES BURIED BENEATH these boots, the cobblestones are the whispers of predecessors, and they've been trampled to a flat museum. Below that, who knows really. CONFETTI REMAINS ON FLOOR MOSTLY candy is abundant in the air though nobody is looking, unless it hits. I have stayed low key all along, bowed I look at you below HEY I’m crawling too I plead, eye level at low, I've been here too though chose to look ahead some few stories ago...beyond, I see these images flashing.
"Road Blues (Red)", print transfer, automotive lacquer, polyester spachel, metal, 25x80cm, 2016
"Road Blues (Sky Over Minneapolis)" print transfer, automotive lacquer, metal, 50x50cm, 2016
"Lady at the Dinner Table" 1-15, print transfer, spray paint, wood stain, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, ea. 60x120cm, 2016
"Lady at the Dinner Table", pen on paper, 13x13cm in frame, 1985, Minsk USSR
"Guy in the Corner", glass, polyester mattress foam, wood, steel, 145x90x50cm, 2016
“What does the lady in the room point towards?”
“What does she want us to know?”
“What is in her shelf, and who is she?”
The preface to this exhibition lies in a drawing titled “Lady at the Dinner Table”, explains our gallery host Guillaume Sultana to us. Made by the artist as a boy in his formative years, it is one of the many works as collected by his mother. Having to flee the chaos of a post-revolutionary Iran, the family had settled in the Soviet Union in the early 1980's, housed at an apartment complex stacked one floor on another in the fellowship of leftist Iranian émigrés. During these years Mirak Jamal first started to draw – his imagination fueled by folkloric tales, funny and horrific things, war stuff on Soviet television, as well as inspiration from his immediate surroundings; namely the living room and kitchen. The collection of these drawings would later accompany the family's migrations further West.
In Paris, we have in front of us one of these drawn impressions attributed to that period, allowing us to zoom in on the exhibition “Mother! Minsk! Where are you!” We enter the space and immediately find “Lady at the Dinner Table” – a yellowed drawing, weightless but framed to protect against overexposure, and time. It is a piece executed by the artist as a five-year old in Minsk, we are told. We can confirm a miniature world wherein an undisputed figure reigns. She faces us reassured, aristocratic, wearing a committed hat and an elaborate dress which drapes downward. The clock looms as if she had been waiting for our arrival all along (since 1985 to be precise). Her right arm points towards some dinner-time inevitables: a table, one chair, a samovar, a bowl of fruits, and a couple other indistinguishable doodles...we summon a wholesome composition in an admirable setting.
From there we are pulled towards a corresponding wall with multiple drywall plates making up a mural. Here, the aristocrat hovers at about four meters tall. We note a fragmented constellation of colors, bearing across the brunt of a prevailing mastermind. The lady of the house has been transcribed in a version that the artist, now surely matured and mindful, has redeemed himself with a large format. The deliberate cuts are crude, and arbitrary machine carvings into the plaster make up a motored re-iteration. She stands unforgiving, and behind the depicted sternness (perhaps not a portrayal of a mother but the artist himself under the cloak?) we sense a smirk of self-gratulation.
“Who is she!”
“Where is the artist anyhow?”
A more acute consideration of the individual plates betrays interwoven realities and timelines. Readily googled images and personal snapshots from the artist's Instagram account invite us into chambers (the exhibition blurb reveals a print transfer technique); we are pulled underwater, through ephemeral cloud clusters, towards a blinding sun, and graze with the fingertips of a crosshatched Dürer over a certain nothing. We have seemingly arrived at the mercy of a desert, and are left with only our lady for guidance. But who is behind her? The wagger of the finger has helped us navigate within this (his, the little boy's) world just as it has coincidentally shown us out of it – piercing through the dining room, and beyond the hermetics of the picture plane towards something more imminent. One can only bargain for an imagined door at this juncture (a giant window stands here instead). I suggest to take the offer. We leave the city limits of Minsk to congregate towards that which is the visceral pull of this semi-cold February awaiting us on the outside...
installation view with Aleksander Hardashnakov and Ben Schumacher
"Domestic Exercise I", print transfer, wax, spray paint, wood stain, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 50x40cm, 2016
"Domestic Exercise II", print transfer, wax, spray paint, wood stain, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 40x50cm, 2016
"Domestic Exercise III", print transfer, wax, spray paint, wood stain, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 40x50cm, 2016
"Gates of Palermo I", print transfer, automotive lacquer, lock, metal, 35x50, 2016
"Gates of Palermo III", print transfer, automotive lacquer, lock, metal, 35x50, 2016
Gates of Palermo II, print transfer, automotive lacquer, lock, metal, 35x50, 2016
installation view, print transfers on wall, machine carvings on wall
installation view, plaster on wall, spray paint, machine carvings, pencil
detail view, print transfer on wall, pencil
installation view, plaster on wall, spray paint, machine carvings
installation view, plaster on wall, spray paint, machine carvings
"Safavid Prince", print transfer, spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 120x90cm, 2015
"Tribute to Siyah Qalam", print transfer, spray paint, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 160x120cm, 2015
"Truck, pen on paper, Minks USSR, 1984", spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artists frame, 60x120cm, 2015
"The Rus, pen on paper, Minks USSR, 1984", print transfer, spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artists frame, 60x120cm, 2015
"Panzer, pen on paper, Minks USSR, 1984", spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artists frame, 60x120cm, 2015
On a peculiar family voyage in 1987 between Römerberg, Germany and Lille, France the artist, then a young man, would come across a book at a rest stop. He would keep this book, and read through its collection of stories for some years. However, in 1994 he would lose this book amidst a rushed move to the U.S. Below is one of the stories as remembered by the artist, which its title and author now slips his memory. In his own words he recalls:
Our story's main subject I do not recall by name, therefore for the sake of the story allow me to name him “Frank”. “Frank” resented the fact he had to wake up in the bright morning hours. As for him the breakfast was served a little too early. Having to be transported to “the lobby” each day a good punctual hour-and-a-half before the rest of the town would devastate his schedule from thereon, and so paint him as distinct. From the pre-meal unease, to the long hours thereafter perusing at the cafe to his pronounced late cappuccinos...skimming from one daily paper to the next in four different languages, his individualism would let him to pace around arrogantly alone. But as the food taster he bowed to the routine, having faced a one-fold predicament: the chance of death vs. the certainty of it. Essentially, he was left with no choice but to submit to the seductive cuisine of the court, and his tastings for breakfast volunteered into full midday lunches. Soon a chair became well reserved for him, and an embroidered pillow with his initials would earn him a comfortable nestling of the buttocks. He would learn to sit stiff-straight to take on a proper dining etiquette, and inhale in all matters; spoon by careful spoon, and from a silky soup to the main course consisting of boar meat, and on to the much honeyed dessert accompanied by bittersweet gossip. The array of meals were fantastic. This reflected in his calmed skin, and the town would resent him for that.
Over time and as the skepticism towards our subject grew evermore present, and as the whispers traveled louder through the corridors, alleys and hills, so would his creeping distaste with the meal itself. A culture of fear foamed in his cheek...death herself rested gently in waiting on the tongue. This informed his palette, and the cinnamon would turn bitter, the caviar would taste like coal, and all raisins were chewed into sugar-free gums. Back home “Frank” would befall to the outer edges of his own community to find himself with the ilk of the town eunuchs, musicians, clowns and whores, squeegee kids, entertainers. A peasant at court, a truer peasant at home. He was shamefully cast second to king. And the risk of crumbling over the table to a coughing pool of red was imminent...but I GUESS THE COURT’S FOOD TASTER MUST HAVE AT LEAST ENJOYED HIS WINE (ha!). It was renowned in those lands, and none of his fellows would come close to tasting the flow of this sweet grape they picked the hills so hard for. I cannot recall now if the food taster survived the meals in the end, but I find this to be secondary.
Also worthy to note, back in 1385 the much feared Timurid army which had penetrated from the steppes of Central Asia would pillage through the fair town of Esfezar, and cement the last surviving citizens into the city walls alive. This forewarning would haunt the Iranian imagination for centuries.
Some of the titles I considered for this show:
I GUESS THE COURT’S FOOD TASTER MUST HAVE AT LEAST ENJOYED HIS WINE..
A DOMESTIC EXERCISE
A GOOD EXERCISE
THE FOOD TASTER AND THE KING’S GOOD WINE
SECOND TO KING
THE MANY VIEWS OF THE GUEST
THE VIEWS OF THE GUEST ARE TOO SAD!!
"Room with a View", spray paint, print transfer, screws, carvings on drywalll, artist frame, 120×93cm, 2015
"Kitchen Still Life, Minsk, USSR, 1985", spray paint, print transfer, screws, carvings on drywalll, wood, 60×250cm, 2015
"Kiefholz Flowers", spray paint, print transfer, screws, carvings on drywalll, artist frame, 52×52cm, 2015
"My Father, pen on paper, Minsk USSR, 1985", spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, 300x120cm, 2015
"Still Life, pen on paper, Minsk USSR, 1985", ink transfer, spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 60x80cm, 2015
"Landscape, pen on paper, Minsk USSR, 1985", ink transfer on wallpaper, spray paint, screws, machine carvings on drywall, artist frame, 60x80cm, 2015
"Alex - A Proposition to Detroit"
l: graphite on paper mounted on Dibond, DIN A5, 40x40cm glass, 2014
r: inkjet on Dibond, DIN A4, 2015
installation view (Sean Landers on right)
highway steel barrier, vinyl, automotive lacquer, 215x30x10cm, 2015
highway steel barrier, vinyl, automotive lacquer, 215x30x10cm, 2015
polyester fiberglass, vinyl, automotive lacquer, steel, cement, mud, dimensions variable, 2015
graphite on paper mounted on Dibond, DIN A5, 40x40cm glass, 2014
based on an Alexander the Great bust from the Istanbul Archeology Museums
polyester fiberglass, automotive lacquer, steel, cement, 24x24x40cm, 2013
"Goatman, pen on paper, Minsk USSR, 1985", agar jelly, ink, 30x30x3cm, 2015
"Tank, pen on paper, Minsk USSR, 1985", agar jelly, ink, 30x30x3cm, 2015
"Monster, pen on paper, Minsk USSR, 1984", agar jelly, ink, 30x30x3cm, 2015
installation view at Kinderhook & Caracas, 2013