Samira Eskandarfar

Clowns can't have babies

Writing a text on Samira Eskandarfar’s paintings, because of the importance of photographic resources and her interest in photos, without speaking of photography itself is difficult; an interest that through years and in her exhibitions has grown and has been more focused on. Without any doubt one of the most influential inventions made by the modern human is photography; a phenomenon that before its appearance, illustration in a smaller extent used to have almost the same functionality. Large quantity has been one of the key features in photography from the very start and even the remaining photographs from the photography’s laborious era, before the mass-production of photography cameras along with the home features, in regards of quantity is no way comparable to paintings that were to record the actual events. Generalizing the action of photography has been successful in a way that today we are faced with an unspeakable amount of photographs. It can be guessed easily that this enormous amount of photographs that are stored digitally throughout the web is only a tiny drop compared to the ocean of stored photographs on all those personal and impersonal hard drives, which if to be thought of will blow one’s mind. Probably nowadays searching for a photograph is much easier and faster than actually taking it and because of the wide variety of photographs out there, this search could also be considered as photography itself. With the ease of digital photography and the fact that you can take unlimited number of photos with them, it made all the sensitivity that was to determine the time, location and the subject of one’s photograph slowly fade away. Tremendous changes have happened in the way photographs were looked at and photography found more categories within; categories varying from memento photography to photography as an industry. Realizing the fact that the most important feature of an image in our time is the multiplicity and emphasizing that by means of using this enormous resource as a visual resource by the painter of the series “Clowns can’t have babies” is very intelligent. For Samira Eskandarfar who instead of choosing among available painting visual resources chose photography, there is this enormous range of photographs to choose from. In the history of painting, after the invention of photography, there are a lot of painters who actually used photography for their paintings. Painters photographed their subjects to later use their chosen selected moment of their photographed subjects in their paintings. The difference of Eskandarfar’s method and its novelty is exactly right here where the photographs she uses in her paintings are all selected, even the ones that were once taken by the painter herself not for any painting-related reasons and were later selected. Resources of the photographs used in the paintings are very diverse. You can see traces of the photos chosen from popular magazines to still shots from movies, Iranian or non-Iranian, Digital or Analogue, old or new, family or historical all in there. It’s really difficult to find any apparent similarities between the photos. The strange thing that happens is that after the photos are painted, collaged and put together they form a single stage as if they were all photographed for the same reason all along! It’s as if Eskandarfar stick them all together with her invisible glue; glue that later I will get more into. Collage is to stick things together, and this sticking together in painting is not limited only by sticking things on some surface; an oil painting can also be considered as a collage. As if in Eskandarfar’s works in addition to the time that the photos were cut and stuck together, the paintings themselves have almost the same nature. Painter’s very first glue takes effect in the photo selecting process. The selected photos are similar to one another in regards of some sort of sensibility to human characteristics; characteristics that sometimes are accidentally recorded through a family photo or in a portrait that is taken for a fashion magazine’s cover. Painter’s sensitivity in realizing these characteristics and selecting those photos has caused the similarities between the photos to emerge and finally as an invisible glue to hide in the artwork. The element of conflict is another glue. Images that sit together and altogether produce an emotional and at the same time psychoanalytic mystery; the relation between humans and objects, humans themselves and finally the connection that the whole development of the artwork makes with its details. Sometimes in conflict and sometimes in connection, it tends to make up an un-told story and keep the audience hanging in front of the artwork, searching for it. The method of drawing, deformation and compositions are painter’s greatest glues. Painters who actually reach this level of recognition in drawing are very rare in our time. A tradition that in painting started to face extinction after the ending of the modern era and painters who in lust for a newer art started forgetting all about it and accepting it as an out-dated trait while this was only because of the movement of visual arts towards literature; which still could save its painting traits. Eskandarfar’s works are outstanding examples in this case. Her thoughts and her reflections in her artworks are exquisite and new. Reflecting manlike subjects with an uncertain view, using texts straight and directly in paintings and the humor that floats in the artworks’ atmosphere altogether are considered deconstructive features in her paintings in addition to all the forgotten painting traits which in our time are a controversial phenomenon. The portraits can be stared at for a long time without getting bored with their alive looks and if you choose to look at them again they still have fresh looks just like when you stare at someone actually sitting right in front of you.
Talking about the subjects of the “Clowns can’t have babies” series is really difficult, since any attempt to decode the artworks will only result in a very personal understanding of the works in regards of one's own personal experiences. The subjects of the artworks are based on common human feelings with emphasis on the sexuality factor. The only difference is that it tends to narrate deeper and more subconscious layers. Sexuality as a factor that generates a broad spectrum of all kinds of relations gets more focus and manages to form a considerable part of the meaning which often is accompanied with a dark humor. A chaotic world that all the creatures, objects and humans are put together, mixed or related to each other in a maniac and an apparent irrelevant way which eventually produce a new meaning and space in the artworks. All these events together tend to convert the artworks to a poetic phenomenon which the artworks themselves get the chance to introduce their poetic standards to the audience, while the writings on the artworks get to finalize its poetic mystery. And at last, because of how the text is used in this series and the painter's previous series, what happens to the audience when is confronted with the artwork at first is interesting. First sees the artwork in a way that cannot read the text before, since image is always accompanied with a shock and manages to display itself to the audience right away. This is why texts are always complementary and come at last. This is where the second shock occurs, since an unpredictable expression and writing appears to the audience. Expressions such as: "You are my favorite color", "A cat-like life" or "Giving birth is difficult".
Perhaps in regards of this series' subjects having the following said would be enough that "human relations" are very complicated mysteries and at the same time very simple and funny and probably with no answers to.
Hamed Sahihi