Saeed Ensafi

Love, Hate & Edit

Awaiting Parousia

Saeed Ensafi’s series of work Love, Hate and Edit, embrace in design and content, a novel dimension of synthesis regarding the intermixture of abstract and objective forms. The seemingly initial dissonance in the admixtures of figurative and abstract soon gives way to unexpected perspectives on the interplay of fictitious transcendental narratives and life. Examining his work, one may say with some degree of certainty that Ensafi, by contrasting metaphysical abstraction, either directly or obliquely, with the physical world, undermines the absolutism of belief, state and tradition.
For example, in the two-series titled Portrait of the Forgotten Superheroes and My Dear Superheroes the abstraction turns highly suggestive of how the power of ‘musicated beliefs ‘overwhelms life. The anonymous and shapeless faces evoke a sensation on how the social, religious and nationalistic games necessarily sacrifice the individual. These obscured faces, meaningfully convey the marginalization of the living individual for the sake of metaphysical narratives. Above all, the curtains covering the upper part of the images rightly communicate the notion of the theatre that is the stage upon which human stories vie and enter into critical conflicts. These curtains directly or indirectly, portray the theatre of cruelty and brutality that is made holy and is believed to be indispensable to political and religious survival. Behind these curtains lies the existential question regarding the most ineffable nature of our being: namely the desire to belong and find meaning at any cost. This point is limpidly raised in the image of the sacrificed warrior made holy by the arrows of love and his seemingly festooned and beatified drops of blood.
Other work on display at this exhibit evoke a sense of desire for ‘Parousia’, a desire for a second coming of the lost purity and innocence. In these work, the striking clarity of the figures is undermined by the rigorous mystery of the cutout abstractions. Here, the attachment of the mundane and quotidian imagery to abstract forms adheres an emotional and solipsistic quality to the work. More so, the fictional and impalpable abstractions ultimately become the horizon of meaning and even a source of explanation for the images. This phenomenon is mostly due to the fact that the objective diurnal imagery, such as the child and the tulips evoke primordially hopeful and yearningly expectant sensations. The cutout abstract forms breathe a mysterious and inscrutable life into the scenes. Thus, both nature and the daily life, always taken for granted, are now turned recondite and unfathomable. There is something optative and desired in all of these works. The image of a child observing an abstract cutout of a family member flanked by two cutout hearts, evokes the subjunctive of a desired perfection, perhaps unfulfilled. There is something sad about this image as the boy appears to seek something that is lost in the real world and may only be extracted from abstract dreams. What the mind in the abstract seeks and what the world offers are often impossible to bridge.
It is fair to say that in Ensafi’s work as much as abstraction transcends the world it also manages to reexamine the physical and the material world.
Abbas Daneshvari
California State University
Los Angeles, 2015