Bad and Worse

Mohammad Ghazali 25 Aug 2017 - 5 Oct 2017

Ab-Anbar Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Iranian photographer, Mohammad Ghazali (b. 1980, Tehran-Iran), showcasing a selection of his last collection ‘Bad and Worse’ which took him 8 years to complete. This would be his twelfth solo show and first with Ab-Anbar. Mohammad Ghazali holds a BA in photography from the Islamic Azad Art and Architecture University of Iran and has studied and worked in Germany and France. In his latest experiment, Ghazali engages with the relation between self/other and surrounding urban space. He has held over 20 national and international shows. In 2004, he was awarded the first prize of the 9th Tehran Photography Biennale for his work 'Self Portrait' which is now part of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art permanent collection. 

“Undoubtedly, ‘Bad and Worse’ project is the outcome of a collaborative event and it wouldn't be possible in any other ways. It is the experience of seeing a city a bit after and before. To accompany thanks to recalling anything that is seeable or has been ignored; we have forgotten or we can't recall. ‘Bad and Worse’ has shortened distances and has lessened the passion, maybe the worst is the best option.” Ghazali mentions in his statement about this exhibition.

 "Mohammad Ghazali’s photography is the systematic undermining of all that is institutionally and traditionally prefigured and pre-structured. In fact, in many ways, his photography is the end of dogma and the beginning of a renewed exploration of such concepts as the photographer, photograph, and the camera. So much of his focus is the decreation of photography as we have known it. As exemplified in this essay, the various series of Bad and Worse (Bad-O-Badtar), From the Heads of the Renowned (Jaay-e Sar-e Khooban), Night Is… (Hast Shab…), Tehran Slightly Tilted to the Right which is also translated as Tehran a Little to the Right (Tehran Kami Maayel Be Raast), and Red Ribbon (Rooban-e Ghermez) radically redefine the role of the artist, the aim, and the fate of Iranian photography. Ghazali’s works are a displacement of such long-established values as the author, art, and originality. The thread that connects practically all of his works is, first and foremost, a voice whose nature and unfolding is aleatory––a world of beings that are more products of chance and flux rather than ordination and planing––and within this aleatory frame, he most significantly follows the magic of unpredictable becoming. Second, his art unmasks the mundane and the quotidian, revealing the often-ignored and marginal as magical. Thus, beneath the seemingly unpretentious, simply selected, and circadian arrangement of Ghazali’s forms breathes the fiery dragon of deconstruction: the unveiling and exposing of the paradoxical nature of every perspective and act.

For Mohammad Ghazali, the real and the tangible world, like Heraclitus’ fire, is inescapable. The real and its constantly changing and unpredictable manifestations fascinate him. His photography accesses the trivial, the innocuous, and the complacent only to uncannily extract deeper meanings from their hidden layers. His method of photography, as expressed in Where the Heads of the Renowned Rest (plates 1-4), Bad and Worse (plates 5-9), often reveals the intensely subversive, scrutinizing, and even liberating facets of the ordinary and mundane. His diurnal imagery, in the above examples as well as Night Is… (plates 10-11), and Tehran Tilted Slightly to the Right (plates 12-14), easily swell, after some scrutiny, into complex and sophisticated outlooks and discourse. 

For example, his realistic images of the series “Where the Heads of the Renowned Rest” are often the play of the physical versus the metaphysical. In such works as Abu Mohammad Mosleh ibn Abdollah Known as Saadi Shirazi, 13th Century Writer and Poet; Reza Abbasi, Painter, 17th Century; Seyyed Hassan Modares, 20th Century Politician, and Seyyed Mahmoud Hesabi, 20th Century Physicist (plates 1-4), the images themselves appear quite journalistic, depicting the daily life in contemporaneous Tehran.”