Parastou Forouhar

I Surrender

The Subtle Penetration of the Memories

Karin Görner

Black wool threads paint one moment over the face, lie on the coat, cling and fall again aside when continuing. In the abundance of the threads I think to the word ‚enmesh'. The threads are knotted at balloons, which float meter high under the ceiling of the studio. I pull one down to myself: On the white balloon a group of figures are imprinted in a tender pink tone with black outlines. Their ornate choreography seems to be a dance, perhaps even from erotic plays. Only by second look I recognize the scenes as representations of tortures.
The atmosphere, which the artist in this installation opens, like many of her works creates unexpected, pleasant and unloved perceptions - Perhaps at an end of the thread, memories of joyful afternoons on the funfair with cotton candy and roundabout trips emerge. At same and another end, one sees oneself nevertheless confronted with faceless fright in shape of archaic appearing torturers and their victims.
How does that unite? The subtle penetration of this work makes it almost impossible for the viewers not to react. It is important, if not substantial expectation to works of art, at least experiences, ways of thinking, insights and the connections become experiencable again. In addition, this needs the process of the penetration, disturbing and irritating, it needs an emotional reaction at the body of the viewers. Forouhar’s installation seduces to this kind of reaction, and makes each resistance by its enmeshed intimacy impossible.
I would like to concentrate my questions to the balloons of Parastou Forouhar on „in between“, on the dipole atmosphere, which the facing pictures of the sweet one and terrible one create. With the balloons as common metaphor for the playfulness and simplicity of childhood, which offers floating and flying, the installation creates also in the psychological sense an atmosphere, in which a situation between confidence and disconcerting is manufactured and can be tested and borne. It is an atmosphere that childlike curiosity confronts with the fright, shock and despair.
In this connection I see the very personally formulated title “I arise” as a further reference to what is claimed before. To give up and remind means challenging the confidence of the safe situation of the childhood.
Will it be sufficient, in order to escape the experience of homelessness, of lose-losing and powerlessness? Or being able to oppose that somehow?
I see the strength of this work in keeping open „in between“: One can go around with such a balloon in the hand. One can be pleased at the colors, at the glitter, at its movement in the air or at its beauty. One can bring photos of tortures close and send them far again – or let the balloon fly away completely with a wish. Contrary to stone monuments, balloons can fly. They are a new, volatile form of the monument of the victims of atrocity, which does not carry the hardness of the opponents in contrast to stone monuments in them. In the playful strategies of Parastou Forouhar in her artistic works, at the same time resources of concerns regarding both her and the others are recognizable.

Translation: Shaahin Shariat