Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi's work also involves performative practice.
Each performance is conceived as a stand-alone story, the themes vary from action to action.
The involvement of the participants is however a constant, it is in fact thanks to their presence
and their reactions that the performance takes the value of a unique moment.
Ode aan de Primavera
For the performance “Ode to the Primavera”, Iranian visual artist Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi goes back to his roots. He brings together the poems of the twelfth-century visionary Molana Rumi, the most important Persian poet, with verses by two other indispensable poets from (art) history; Kamo no Chomei and Francis of Assisi.
Together with Belgian jewelry designer Catherine Rochtus, who also opened her studio in KANAAL for its performance on March 20, 2022, and Japanese opera singer Akiko Kozato, “Ode to the Primavera” was performed at the beginning of spring. Spring, the arts and history were celebrated simultaneously, in the warm company of friends, neighbours, acquaintances and passers-by, with a glass of wine.
Kamo no Chomei was a twelfth-century Japanese writer and essayist. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscan order in the twelfth century. They were of immense importance in their time, their influence extends to this day and will continue to do so in the future. They lived similar lives, each in their own way, with a heart for fellow human beings and for nature.
The East, Middle East and West, past, present and future, come together in one performance. The verses of the three mystics are written in glossy ink in the form of their particular calligraphy on one sheet of paper; from left to right, from right to left and from top to bottom. In this way, the three cultures they represent fit together perfectly. The performance thus forms a metaphor for the dialogue between different cultures and ways of thinking, which we can conduct more often in our society.
The three artists and the public are challenged to broaden their horizons by coming into contact with new concepts and cultures. The poems are brought together out of context in a new perspective. Time and space disappear in a performance that revolves around the movements of the artists' bodies, which converge around the sheet of paper.
Intentions of Light
The performance is inspired by a Mavlana Rumi's poem, Persian philosopher, who lived in the XIII century. It was the story of a competition between the Chinese and the Byzantines, launched to determine which people was the best in the art of painting. The challenge took place in the sultan's residence in two identical rooms, placed opposite one another. The Chinese asked the sultan 100 colors to accomplish their work, the Byzantines instead just clean up the walls from rust and dirt, until they became clear as the sky. When the Chinese have finished their work, they were satisfied, even the sultan was impressed by the painting, but his surprise was greater when he discovered the work of the Byzantines. Thanks to the purity achieved on the walls, the Chinese's painting was reflected in the work of the Byzantines, with a brilliance that exceeded any expectation.
The performance is enabled by a painter, Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi, and a Japanese opera singer, Akiko Kozato: while the painter paints the canvas, the singer clears the wall in front the paint
revealing a mirror under the dirt.
The idea that moves this project it to transfer into a concrete action the philosophy
that animates the play of Rumi.
Performance 0 took place into Spazio Nour and was enabled by Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi
with Francesca Lolli. The performers, who wear formal dresses, to highlight the importance of the gestures, began writing on a wall two texts belonging to their different cultures: Francesca transcribed "Preghiera Semplice" by San Francesco D'Assisi and Mahmoud a poetical prayer by Saadi, an Iranian poet.
Once they're finished, the wall was whitewashed and the writings disappeared.
The performance can be considered a ritual action which enshrines the collaboration between the artists and the hosting venue.
The Last Supper
"The Last Supper" 1 was an action behind closed doors . Eleven people were invited to take part without any understanding of what to expect. This work was a reinterpretation of the Last Supper and took place three times: at Spazio Nour, at Chiostri di San Barnaba and at East Gallery Teheran..
The First Supper
"The First Supper" turned the courtyard of Viale Bligny 42, where Spazio Nour is located,
into an open and dynamic space. Aiming to integrate people from different cultures and backgrounds, a convivial dinner was helded. Everyone was asked to bring his own chair and to share food.
During dinner a video was shown: the common vision of images about different aspects of modernity was an instrument to trigger the dialogue between participants.
This work is part of a social and artistic project began in July 2014 with Performace 0.
"Trust" took place during the event "Thinking Hub 2015" held by Fastweb. The artist set up a dinner table replacing food and cutlery with paint and brushes. He invited the participants to give their contribution to a collective work of art, adding his mark to the final painting.
"Chissà" summons three different cultures: Occidental, Middle-Eastern and Oriental, through the verses of three poets, three mystical visionaries who lived extraordinary lives sharing the same century, but not same places. These are San Francesco d'Assisi (Italy), Molana Rumi (Iran) and Kamo No Chomei (Japan). Their words, rewritten with shiny ink on long sheets of paper by Mahmoud Saleh Mohammadi and Akiko Kozato, give a shape to distinct languages, letting however three different ways of thinking converging into one single work and place.
"Bar B" aims to reflect on today's conception of the female figure. With reference to the standards of beauty proposed by the fashion companies and advertising images, the artist immortalizes women in the role of the most iconic doll in the world.