[IN]VISIBLE MEANING

The main question in this project argues how meaning emerges in a photograph, while the reality that was captured as a photo did not happen for the sake of making meaning. The main issue in this series is not the transmission of a specific and understandable concept to the audience. 

Instead, the process of relating phenomena in the photograph that occurs in the audience’s mind is the goal. “Getting meaning” or being “meaningful” in an artwork seems to occur through the emotional connection between the viewer and the artwork. This connection between phenomena presented in a photograph, 

which can lead to a particular meaning in the audience’s mind, might not exist in the real world. Therefore, can we ask these questions, where do these meanings come from? 

Are they based on the human desire to discover and apply meanings in their lives? Is it accurate to say that the meaning that emerged in the audience’s mind from a photograph depends on their mental and emotional states?

The issue of shadows and the cave in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, or the case of the elephant in a dark room, by Maulana Jalaluddin Balkhi (known as Rumi), could 

further explain this discourse. The truth and reality that happened in these two examples were different for each individual as they could only comprehend things based on their personal grasp on the representation of the events. 

Ultimately, this series aims to present several regular moments on our daily lives that aims at not creating meanings but leading the audience to apply their own meanings.

[IN]VISIBLE MEANING, as a photography project, includes two sets of photo series with a specific approach toward perceived meaning by the audience.

COMFORT ZONE

Comfort Zone is a photo series considering the relationship between humans and the surrounding urban environment. This series shows the human presence in urban spaces. Urban structures, designed and built to create order and a safe environment for humans, have significantly impacted human life over time. In addition to the materialistic connection between man and space, urban structures can act as signs and labels representing people’s

social backgrounds, social classes, or social networks. The critical issue is not only the social effects of being in separate urban spaces but the conquest of cities by the cities themselves, which has removed humans from the central axis of focus on cities.
As a result, it is not the cities that are at the service of man, but it is the man who has been conquered by the psychological and social phenomena arising from the cities.

FEAR | 2020

The FEAR Photo Series comprises 12 photos taken during quarantine days of the pandemic. The series highlights the impact of media and news related to the coronavirus in our everyday life. 

Next to all photos, we see a lead written by important international media. 

In addition to the media, the politicians’

words in their everyday speech would influence people’s lives. Although the media’s efforts worldwide create a collective awareness, this awareness could transform into social fear in times of crisis and catastrophes. This series is a thought that wants to bridge the worldwide crisis, media, and daily life.

Exhibitions

– Iran, Qom | Curator: Ibrahim Soleimani | Iranian Association for photography | July 2022
– Hungary, Budapest | Curator: Dr. Habil Varga Tunde | April 2023

ABOUT THE EXHIBITIONS

The [IN]VISIBLE MEANING photo exhibition is an opportunity to share a question with the audience. Where does “meaning” emerge in photography? The importance of this project lies in the fact that in the last two exhibitions, the “FEAR” and “Comfort Zone” photo series were exposed side by side.
These two photo series are fundamentally different regarding the placement of the subjects in the compositions. The FEAR photo series is in the still-life genre, which is a visual narrative of the impact of the media on the photographer’s personal life. On the other hand, the Comfort Zone is a black-and-white documentary photo series exposing life in urban areas.

The FEAR photo series, in a fixed angle, shows how the photographer relates to the objects around him during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this collection, the photographer has tried to establish a visual narrative of his personal encounter with the Covid-19 pandemic and the media’s impact during the pandemic’s beginning. The photographer explains:
“In order to show my psychological condition to the audience, I produced FEAR that has a familiar and understandable meaning for the audience. This meaning and the audience’s relationship with the photos are actually due to the shared experiences between me as the photographer and the audience. Therefore, I communicate with the audience through my photographs, using fear, the language of our common lived experience.”

In the “Comfort Zone” photo series, Forouzesh tries to communicate with the audience through documentary photos. The main goal of this collection is to show the contradiction that urban spaces bring to human life.

 

 

Explaining this collection, the artist explains:
“I think we are constantly involved in a contradictory understanding of the meanings in life. We try to provide a prosperous and happy life for ourselves and our families through work and activities in cities, while our lifestyles, which are supposed to improve in cities due to better access to resources, are seriously affected by the behaviour of the city as a dynamic and growing structure. 

 

I imagine this contradiction is due to our incomplete or inadequate understanding of issues such as welfare, life, or comfort zone, which puts us in a vicious emotional circle.”

Even though in the comfort zone, the photographer’s method of capturing the moment differs from FEAR, the audience still tries to find a meaningful connection with the photo. This time, the language of interaction between the photographer and the audience (unlike in FEAR) does not occur through a shared and designed experience.
Instead, this interaction occurs through seeing an actual event in the real world, interpreted by the audience’s understanding based on their emotional reserve. 

In the last photo exhibition of [IN]VISIBLE MEANING Photography Project, Forouzesh displayed the artworks in a warehouse of an old building in Budapest. The warehouse, which was not designed to serve people as a social space, benefits the exhibition by highlighting the idea of the Comfort Zone.

 

The audience could view the Comfort Zone in an abandoned part of the building that had not been used for decades. This space, which is not a comfortable space for a photo exhibition, actually puts the audience in a situation directly under the pressure of the space.

 

The short ceiling, damp walls, broken wooden floors, and dust on the walls, along with photos that show the issue of living in urban spaces created a different experience for visitors.

 

“The Comfort Zone exhibition space created for me an inescapable feeling of being in a space that we constantly experience in big cities. 

I enjoy seeing the photos, but at the same time, the pressure that the dark space and the low ceiling of the building put on me seem like a metaphor for our lives in big cities. The pleasure of living in big cities and using its resources and facilities encourages us to live in the cities, but at the same time, the city unconsciously is a painful and difficult space to live.” 

Laura, the exhibition’s visitor, says. 

REVIEWS
Both collections present a sense of inner dialogue and solitude as an observing outsider in a crowd. The creator of the works, similar to the viewers, is overwhelmed by the environment.
They could seek refuge in the comfortable definitions or the notion that the meanings that we are used to are no longer adequate.
MONA MONSEFI
Art researcher
The photos are dynamic and simplistic, using the power of geometric shapes, repeating rhythmical elements and strong contrasts. What we could ask ourselves instead is, what do we find resonating in the photos and what it can teach us about ourselves. After all, these could be core questions to reveal invisible meanings.
PAULA GROHN
Designer
PHOTOS

Contact: info [at] mansourforouzesh . com