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JELLY STATE OF MATTER-MAGICAL THINKING

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Gallery Ernst Hilger

Vienna

 

2016

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking: Untitled, 2016, Vienna, Jelly, Module Train and Wood

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking: Untitled, 2016, Vienna, Jelly, Module Train and Wood

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking: Untitled, 2016, Vienna, Jelly, Module Train and Wood

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, 2016, Vienna, Jelly

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, 2016, Vienna, Jelly

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, Exhibition view, 2016, Vienna

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, Exhibition view, 2016, Vienna

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, Objects Love Me, 2016, Vienna, Neon light

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, Exhibition view, 2016, Vienna

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, Exhibition view, 2016, Vienna

Jelly State of matter / Magical thinking, Exhibition view, 2016, Vienna

Properties Of Objects/ Jelly State of Matter 

Jelly State of Matter – Leila Pazooki

 

Text by Shaheen Merali

 

 

Leila Pazooki’s work is primarily an inquiry into the concept of borders, and the manner in which information, language, the visual vernacular, and cultural associations are contorted, and conflated, as they cross physical and imagined boundaries. 

Borders and the human notion of bordering establish limitations that her work manipulates, contesting and questioning the notion and validity of what remains and how it is further made acceptable.

 

The recent works that culminate in the exhibition, Jelly State of Matter, at Brot Kunsthalle, were initiated at the time of her residency and exhibition at the Langgeng Art Foundation, Yogjakarta, Indonesia between February-July 2012 where  “She has reflected upon this relationship in the light of animism as an important and ancient aspect of many local religions. Animism negates the presumed borders between spiritual and material worlds. In this philosophy objects are believed to have a life of their own with their souls engaged in dialogs and interactions with the rest of the world. The universe is therefore a continuum and the Cartesian subject/object duality cannot be valid in this model of thought.”

 

Pazooki’s multi-layered works often dissolve the distinction between the tolerable and the history of taboo. In undertaking residencies where her research is refined (including Indonesia, China and the Netherlands) Pazooki’s exploration of borders has brought her to further consider objects and their perceptions, their paradigms, its cognitive processes, and associated relationships that furthermore stimulate and maintain the deepening of the unfolding cosmopolitan global arts. Her work can be read as visual material, aiding in the fight against the hegemony of borders that stratify the world by way of political and canonical prejudice.

 

“The relationship between presence and absence, materiality and spirituality, object and subject are therefore seen in Pazooki’s work through this philosophy. She has tried to incorporate this philosophy into her process of art making. As part of her investigation on these themes Pazooki asked a group of local artisans (in Jogjakarta) to make a series of sphere shaped objects. However they were free to make their own interpretations of the form. The results are as diverse as perfectly smooth and rounded balls and tessellated and faceted polyhedrons. However, these various shapes are manifestations of an idea in Platonic sense. Each craftsman has made a distinctive form which depicts his/her unique path of perception and creation. The objects and their lives are all associated and different at the same time.”

 

Jelly State of Matter is both a culmination of her ideas from these residencies and exhibitions as well a clarion call for the notion that “Our age has expanded the definition; it now includes all who have been stripped of experience (whatever it might be) and forced to replace being with having in their everyday lives.”

 

The neon work I Love Objects and its cathartic other Objects Love Me is the “ symbol to be its referent or to be an analogy and to represent an identity of our role as we form the world we comprehend.”

Another border, this time between humankind and the animal kingdom, is conflated in her work The Pet. A faceted polyhedron replaces the head of an animal which is astutely placed at the edge of a kitchen-sized table; the whole stands for a large standing dog. Images have been removed while their traces in the form of interpretations are available. The audience is therefore invited to perceive the absent imagery through associations. What remains dominant is what we have dominated.  The simplicity is in exposing our modes of thinking and feeling. 

 

The optical machinery afforded by the history of modernism within the contemporary arts is explored in the goods carried as cargo in the work, Vulnerability, wooden cubes painted in primary colours associated often with high modernity (in the works of Mondrian or in the colour field paintings of Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still, Robert Motherwell or Ad Reinhardt) are the load that are carried by the train in an eternal circuit of art history and art auctions. Traversing borders, striking order between dissidence and power “a process or a passage provides for an identity that can be construed from additional understanding, through the symbolic or analogous as a means of production of meaning and relevance.”

 

The term magical thinking, was coined by the Viennese based clinical psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, whose own research and analysis furthered his understanding of the production of meaning by cognitive and developmental factors. He suggested that projections by human beings at all ages in their lives often assist in linking the outside world with their internal consciousness. This is a process in which the Tehran born artist Leila Pazooki has been interested for a number of years and by chance its relevance became more acute at the time of her residency and exhibition in Yogjakarta, Indonesia. 

 

Pazooki’s exhibition in Jogjakarta was entitled, Magical Thought, as the concept had helped in assisting her to recover traditional practices and present-day animisms within the contemporary frame where it has positioned itself as an important asset, even a transformative practice. In leisure, in new age spirituality but, most importantly, in digital consumerism, the image as an idea or the symbol as a reflection of our self-focus has become the law of attraction. As part of the exhibition in JogjakartaPazooki organised two talks, calling them, Jelly Talks, with specialists invited from diverse fields who were expertly moderated in a talk show format. These panel discussions were recorded by a crew and later transcribed. The jelly presented on the table during these sessions led the possibilities from abstract observation to wildly unimaginable connections in the conversations.  Ranging from spirituality to notions of networked worlds, central to the discussions were passionate notions on identity with varying interpretations of religion, science and the Javanese identity. 

 

In Vienna, these jellies are re-presented to discuss and evolve further images. For Pazooki their symbolic forms and inverted shapes provide a continuous relevance for our thinking about emotional intelligence and the imbued power of reflection that can generate further identification.  

These symmetrical jelly forms using traditional Victorian molds which she presents as museum displayed objects, in a state between liquid and solid is a relocation of  her  Jelly Talks;  for, Pazooki argues, similar dynamics shape our interrogation of magical thinking in the west.  Pazooki rotates the tables, in extracting images as imbued with power and energy; images as a place of desire within the digital alliance of media and the continuous notations of freedom it suggests. Pazooki remains a keen instagram observer for its use of food as a fetish for children, its architectural porn aesthetics that drive desires by design and the zillion self images which all require scrutiny to discuss how further images evolve and dissolve boundaries. As in Yogjakarta, Pazooki hopes to generate local Viennese identification in the work Jelly State of Matter in allowing us to traverse the unconscious, ideology, art and its history in the use of these sphere shaped objects.