Azin Zolfaghari (Iran) was shortlisted for her work Density, embodying the complicated definition of “house”. Despite its seemingly objective clarity and simple framework, it is in fact a fluid concept that does not fit neatly into any physical form.
Can you tell us a bit more about your artistic process? How do you create the rich textures in your artwork?
The materials that I use to create texture in my work are actually the result of four years of research and experience and trial and error in the composition of various materials. At first, the texture I created for my paintings was more thick, and over time I decided to reduce the amount of material on the canvas surface to make it easier to move the work and to prevent cracking or falling material.
Currently, the volume of materials I use on the canvas is as thin as one to two millimeters, and in fact more of the audience is exposed to a painted surface than a surface full of materials. I mean, due to the darkness and lightness of the colors and the creation of cracks with my color, I get the desired result to create the texture in my work, which has the property of the two-dimensional.
Are your cityscapes inspired by real places, or do they come from your imagination?
The important issue in my paintings is the concept of security, and this security appears in the house and the four walls in my paintings. In fact, the house is a place where every person must have peace, a place resembling a baby in their mother’s womb. But if you look closely at my work, you will see a form of isolation, erosion and decline, which is the insecurity and power that has been overshadowed by the dominant and oppressive system over the city that brings passivity and isolation in the person. The images and compositions that I create in my works are in some cases mental and in some cases inspired by photos that I have taken with my camera. Some of the images are also due to the visual experience that when I go to the lower parts of the city in my mind is recorded.
But the arrangement of the windows in the frame of my paintings is intentional, mostly referencing the psychological feeling that is in the face of the city, or better yet, in the face of my own feelings against concepts such as suffocation, repression and social compression in the heart of city. My interest in creating a cement and gray surface in my paintings is actually in line with my situation. I have been suffering from psoriasis for many years, which is a skin disease that causes damage, scaling and skin deterioration.
During the painting process, some kind of therapy is happened for me. By creating a lot of cracks and skins on the gray walls of my paintings, it actually conveys the annoying feeling that occurs in my physical physique to the surface of the canvas. This process helps me to experience better mental and physical moods. In fact, there is a reciprocal feeling between my body, painting, and social and urban relations, which ultimately results in my artistic work.