The art of ornamentation by Parastou Forouhar
Iranian-German artist Parastou Forouhar, resident in Germany since the 1990s, is known for her idiosyncratic drawings, photographs, installations and animations. Frank Kleinbach shows some excerpts from Forouhar's past exhibitions.
The juxtaposition of the beautiful and the terrible, the ambivalence of life comes together in the image of the butterflies. An ornament of human bodies, which they bear within themselves, serves to underpin this ambivalence. In Persian, butterfly is "Parwaneh" – the name of Parastou Forouhar's mother
The exhibition "Im Zeichen des Ornaments" at the Kunsthalle Goppingen showed two elementary groups of works from the artist's oeuvre – digital ornaments, which can be viewed, among other things, in two large-format wall installations, and photographs within which the motif of the chador, the traditional garb of Muslim women in Iran, mysteriously ebbs and flows
In 2017 Parastou Forouhar was in Stein am Rhein in Switzerland on a stipend from the artists' residence Chretzeturm. The place, with its preserved historical buildings, untouched by the turmoil of history, seemed to her an 'ideal world'. Simultaneously, there was the appalling political situation, the poison gas attacks in Syria. As an artist, how does one achieve relevance in a place like this, and how can one pick up a thread as an outsider?
Parastou Forouhar explored Stein am Rhein, the surroundings, the landscape and the respective atmosphere, absorbed this lovely beauty and discovered different places for her staged photographs: a figure veiled in black moves through the alleys, walks in nature, rises from the clear waters of the Rhine
In the so-called Amtsmannsaal a figure jumps up and down. It is an outrageous posture in this once official room, which at once seems quite humorous and absurd. The alien being conquers the place and makes it its own. What's more, it decides just exactly how it wants to behave
Parastou Forouhar' s works are concise images that move between beauty and cruelty. Their appeal is aesthetic, their fascination that of shape and form; only at a second glance do they reveal a darker dimension. Viewed at first glance, her digital drawings appear to be mere ornaments of impressive beauty, whose patterns and colours seduce
The wall installation extending over 18 metres in length, entitled ''The Time of the Butterflies'', is an excellent example: on first viewing, the numerous butterflies are visible, the colours, their interaction with each other. Only on closer inspection does the second level of the wall installation become visible. The butterflies are surrounded by a black border. The ornament they carry within them behaves like a picture puzzle that jumps back and forth before our eyes
At first glance, ''Zeit der Schmetterlinge'' seems light and poetic. The different coloured butterflies rise weightlessly into the room. The butterfly is a symbol of beauty, lightness, tenderness, but also of the transience, fragility and ephemeral nature of life. The title says it all – the time of butterflies is limited
Countless artistically stylised eyes form the pattern that fills the surface of the large wall piece ''Eyes'' (2018) by Parastou Forouhar, the first picture you see when you enter her exhibition in the Kunsthalle Goppingen. First, you take in the ornament, the all-over drawing in uniform rows, repeatable on all sides, ever expanding
The gaze of these eyes is directed at the person looking at this picture, no matter where he or she stands. The work of art looks back! – in a double sense: directly and candidly into the proverbial "eye of the beholder", where the meaning of the work of art develops; and at the personal experience we mirror in our own response to the work