Time Restored, is the title of a recent exhibition by Shahla Hosseini which was on display until the end-November 2012 in Khak (Soil) Gallery. The recent exhibit comprises of two parts of Materials and Structures, a combination of nostalgic objects and elements which are composed of surreal, dreamlike, illogical combinations.
In the Structures collection, Hosseini showcases clear inclinations towards American artist of assemblage style Joseph Cornell and his well-known boxes. This collection includes wooden assemblage boxes of objects which are covered with a glass window. Inside these boxes there are different elements of complicated, useless mechanical structures such as Dadaistic Machines of Leger, small statues, pages of old scientific books on Lenses written in French, light refraction, and astrology lenses along with pictures, hand-written deeds of ancestral shops, radiology images of embryos, electrocardiogram, and medical documents. Among the elements which make the nostalgic load of this collection stronger are strands of white hair on the surface of all works; the artist has emphasized on these hairs everywhere, and the strong bonds between the surreal and psychotherapy perspectives, make the reading of the art work from the psychotherapy angel possible. The long feminine strands of hair provoke the sad feeling of a missing woman, such as a mother or a grandmother, and also her affections. Among other organic elements of this collection are corals, sea shells, and bones as part of an organ or as a whole which are a constant present. Small statues of Cornell are located in their suspended, undecided and surreal form in a corner. Despite its strong formal congruity, the current collection is not successful in terms of creativity.
But in another collection, which includes works made of a combination of material on cardboard, the artist has made designs by using color and collage. Hand-made designs of deformed bones in small sizes, lamps without bulbs, red fish, and childish scribbles in innocent and untouched form have been catapulted from the forgotten, dejected chest of sub-consciousness to the world of consciousness in the work, although the repetition of elements in all of these works take a toll on their sub-conscious function and highlights their intentional selective aspect. White strands of hair and medical documents in this collection are also considered a repetitive element.
The artist’s obsessive conflict with memories of birth in the framework of radiology images of a child, illness and a battle for life in the framework of medical documents, electrocardiogram and especially death by elements such as white hair and bones create a condition which is titled “the Stamina of Collecting Scattered Parts” in the exhibition catalogue. It seems Hosseini has been more successful in the right collection of Materials because of the truthfulness, stream of consciousness, creative composition, and also the use of hand designs in narrating a nomadic, innocent and inexperienced child, compared to the Structures collection. It seems in the Structures sections we have gone to visit Joseph Cornell and we are witnessing memories of Shahla Hosseini.