Battling Amnesia

Posted at 26 Dec 2017

What does Emad tell us, and where does his art take us? Whilst looking at his work one seeks to answer this questions, one and tempted to attribute meaning and purpose to his artwork. Hermeneutics teaches us that, in art, establishing boundaries and definitions makes little sense. Rather, work of art is experienced face to face and one's comprehension of it is based on conscious and/or subconscious motives. Not only one cannot determine the source of such understandings, but also one cannot base collective evaluation and criteria on Such motives.
By the same token, wouldn't any writing about a work of art tempt one to attribute meaning? If one's understanding of a work of art is the ultimate and unique meaning and definition of it, then how can we know whether our interpretations are correct or not? In this context, why do we even write or read about a work of art? More importantly, what would it mean to discuss such matters? Therefore, one cannot construe a particular meaning for a work of art that is pioneering. Every interpretation can be correct, and every position can be the absolute One.
The only way out of this dilemma lies with the work itself, not with its creator. Instead of searching for Emad's purpose for creating these works of art, one has to seek the goal and purpose of his art by itself. Separating the art from the artist and seeking for hints inside the art work itself, can help us (as well as the artist) to understand the artist's progression and the span covered by his work. In order to achieve this, one has to place the works of art in their own horizon. In other words, one of the main rules of understanding cultural phenomena is to place them in the setting or horizon of a dialogue specific to itself. "Nothing is comprehensible on its own; works of art are placed and understood in specific context"(1). Hence, Emad's works should be placed in context with his specific hints and elements and related to a certain mental and cultural dialogue, which aren't immune from personal interpretations either. However, the breadth of analysis on the one hand, and on the other hand the depth of understanding the hints within the framework of a particular art, separates explanation from interpretation. Furthermore, "understanding is based on interpretation while explanation is based on logical reasoning and definitive results"(2). Since understanding a work of art and explaining it are completely different, the only way to fully understand a work of art is to interpret it. Interpretation of experiences is dependent on the correct explanation of the same. Per Thomas Hobbs "human life achievements aren't the experiences as much as the explanations for those experiences." Therefore, not just any explanation applies to any art work; instead, explanations must be placed in the Context of such experiences.
Wood is Emad's main material, and Wood immediately creates its own sensorial world. The primitive forms and the weathered texture of the wood reminds the viewer of handmade functional objects of the past. Simple despite their strange form, Emad's sculptures emanate a powerful statement which testifies to the artist's talent, sensitivity and passion for forming their shape. Herein lies the secret to Emad's works. The pure forms symbolize the simplicity of life and life objects. Mixture of wood and metal, or simply covering wood with metal, Emad's pieces serve no apparent purpose other than to express the organic unity that has created them. Using minimal means and simple tools, Emad creates pieces that leave one wondering about the very Special purpose they must serve. The raw markings, natural surfaces and seemingly natural patterns on the wood further accentuate the feeling that Emad's pieces in fact serve a real-life function. Natural feel of Emad's artwork is its dominant characteristic, which is how Emad's art finds its way into our psyche. We feel these forms and shapes, because we are rooted in simplicity and naturalness. Consequently, his works of art gradually fuse with icons of our own ancient memory.
In conclusion, the past is very present in Emad's works. Even though his pieces are not historical, they seem to be carrying history in their bosom. In Johnny Wattimo's words: "Most of the time, every document tells us exactly what we want to hear". Hence, Emad's works ring with the history of mankind and open up layers of our past. Recaptured past is reclaiming the present effortlessly. One uses these forms to move from the present to the past, and the past is revived in our essence. This return makes the essence of the past in and of itself. The past that Emad creates with his works of art is humanity's past and not a specific one, which speaks of its essence and comprehension. The collective knowns and understandings that are placed in our subconscious are brought to life through his silent and fixed forms. Looking at his works, we feel the depth of our own roots. More significantly, pleasure is derived from the fact that we are not alienated from these works of art. On one hand, the unfamiliar forms of Emad's pieces embody the incomplete narrative of our past, as if they are still alive and come to an end with the personal experience of each viewer. This is where Emad's organic pieces detach themselves from the nature they emerged from. His works of art are narrated forms and shapes locked in time, whereas Emad's narrations are endless and unfinished. This freely interpreted conclusion places his achievement in the realm of artistic works of art So that the unfinished looking shapes and forms are finished within our consciousness. This historical interpretation, free of a particular time and place, is a peculiar visualization used for remembrance and battling amnesia. "the essence of the moral history of an event is a battle with amnesia"(3). Through Emad's works of art, though ambiguous, we recall our past and what we recall is life itself...
Mohammad Parvizi
Spring 2011