For The Sake of Calmness
Newsha Tavakolian

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019

Thomas Erben Gallery is very excited to present Tehran based Newsha Tavakolian’s For the Sake of Calmness (19min, 2020). The film depicts a bifurcated state of mind, removed from the real world while being hyper sensitively affected by it. Usually, Tavakolian’s camera is directed towards other people’s struggles – the artist is a member of Magnum Photos since 2019 – but here she directs the lens inwardly, taking her recurring experience with PMS as a point of departure. Tavakolian’s inner monologue leads us through a labyrinthine set of scenes, each hauntingly speaking of painful stasis. Unable to express their emotions, the film’s protagonists instead transpire their interior tensions. With redemption seemingly out of reach, For The Sake of Calmness offers an apt metaphor mirroring our current uncertainties.

 

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019

From For The Sake of Calmness series, 2019, Still

This is Tavakolian’s third solo presentation with the gallery which includes her 2013 exhibition Look as well as the presentation of Pages of an Iranian Photo Album at Art Basel Hong Kong (2016).

About For the Sake of Calmness, the artist states, “In this film, I focus on the way the tediously repetitious transformation of my body – PMS – affects my perception. I speak of being immersed in the reality of one’s own life, and yet remaining painfully aware of what lies outside of it. But how does one visualize an amorphous idea, one that has become abstract to the point of obscurity? Landscape, real and imagined, provides the backdrop for my visual narrative, while sound, intertwined with my monologue, adds a third dimension to my portrayal speaking of the contradiction of being unmoored from the real world and yet achingly affected by it.”

 

Piere-Cary Village, 2018, Khuzestan, Iran

Woman in Red, 2015, Kenya

Untitled No. 2, 2015, Iran

From the Oclean’s Angels series, 2015

Tehran Sky, 2015, Tehran, Iran

From The Day I Became a Woman, 2007

Newsha Tavakolian is a photographer and a member of Magnum Photos. She began working for the Iranian press at the age of 16, covering wars in Iraq and a range of social issues in her native Iran. Over the years, her focus shifted away from journalistic photography to photography as art. Through her lens, Tavakolian explores social experiences in her homeland and human conflicts close and near. Tavakolian has photographed female guerrilla fighters in Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria and Colombia, prohibited Iranian female singers and the lives of people living under sanctions.

 

From Look, 2012-2013

From Look, 2012-2013

From Look, 2012-2013

From the Listen series, 2010-2011

From the Listen series, 2010-2011

Tavakolian was the fifth laureate of the 2014 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award and the principle laureate of the 2015 Prince Claus Award.

Among others, Tavakolian’s work has found its place within the private collections of international institutions, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the British Museum, Sackler Gallery and the Museum of Fine Art Boston.

 

For The Sake of Calmness / Newsha Tavakolian
January 9 – February 13, 2021 / Thomas Erben Gallery
Visit the exhibition page >

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