Afsoon is an Iranian artist currently living in London.
My nomadic life is reflected in my work where East merges with West and the result is at once familiar and foreign. There are several layers in my work and at times I combine text with images. I also combine different techniques such as linocusts, photography, collage and etching. The result is a rich yet often playful and humorous tableau in which the audience is able to engage and interpret in its own way.
The idea for an artwork usually comes in a single burst. Then a little sketch emerges. As days go by, my mind returns to it again and again until the image is finalised. If it’s a straight-forward lino-cut, I then draw the image on the lino in pencil, cut it out and hand-print it on Inbe Japanese paper. When combining linos with photographs, I often find that I have already taken a photo which works well with the idea. Sometimes the idea comes from one of my photos. If not, I take photos until I have one which I’m happy with. I then scan that onto Zercall paper and hand-print the lino image on top. I collect vintage photos, old advertisements, pieces of paper with interesting colours or patterns or fabric, which I use for my collages. After cutting, I glue these on top of linos which are hand-printed on recycled Sri Lankan paper or Japanese Inbe. My etchings and photo-etchings are printed on to Summerset paper using a press. I mainly use Charbonnel or intaglio inks.”
How do we fall in love? What is it that we want? Are we successful? Are we healthy? Can a piece of paper folded seven times help? Or a small bronze disc with abstract patterns etched by hand? Talismans come in many forms. Repeat a word over and over and sense it take the shape of something more powerful. Put a copper disc with a drawing of a naked couple under the pillow of your lover and see the change, make a baby, stay happy forever. Bury a prayer in the garden of your enemy and see them fall. Blow over the heads of travellers and make their journey safe.
For centuries talismans have played a part in many different societies all over the world. The lucky pen or interview suit, as well as more exotic or sinister items, embody the belief that a tangible object can so something so intangible as making someone fall in love. The power of a talisman lies in believing in it.
There comes a time in everyon’s life when love rules and nothing has the power to fight love. The irony is that love often kills what it has come to nuture. But life continues. In this six panel work I question our preconceptions about love. During my childhood we often played the game of bride and groom. I remember being madly excited and shy at the same time, stading with my garden-picked flowers in my makeshift veil, getting married off to a variety of neighbourhood boys at different stages. “Brides, we will all be real brides” is what my friends and I thought. But to persue love and to be pursued by it is an earnest game which we come to learn. The love letters, the pocket photographs, the anxiety of waiting for the postman, the tears of breaking up, the torn pictures and wet pillowcases can all eventually lead to finding “the right one”. But will it end happily ever after? After the innocence and honesty of childhood, we know that faith alone is not enough. The lovers in my work live in the shadow of the Love Talismans which give them the courage to face the journey of a relationship. The sugary promise of romance combines with the fear and pain of disappointment to chronicle the journey where a new beginning could be waiting around the corner.
It started with a craving. A craving for something I couldn’t have, my past. At first it came in isolated droplets, an old photo tucked into a forgotten book, an unevenly folded letter, a dream. Then it began to leave its mark in my writing and my prints. Going back to Iran after 25 years of absence, turned the droplets into a shower still soaking me.
What is nostalgia? How do you explain feeling nostalgic? An earring, a shade of colour, the fall of a curtain, a badly cut suit, and unfashionable work, the past can show itself in anything. We have an expression in Persian for missing something which translates loosely as “my heart has shrunken for it”. I created this series to stretch my heart.
As a child I was told many fairytales of beautiful princesses and brave heroes. They faced life’s challenges and always emerges happy and victorious. I believed in fairytales. My chosen icons lived expectantly, hoping, wishing, dreaming. They were loved and admired and the fulfilled many of their hopes and dreams. But what happened to them in the end? Did these fairytale icons really live happily ever after? And if not, what chance do we have of a fairytale ending?
(info and pictures kindly provided by Afsoon)
Afsoon’s Information:website: http://afsoon.co.uk/ email: email@example.com