Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Photographer Series #26: elhamshotkatemoss

Elham Goodarzi was born and raised in Iran. Currently residing in Tehran, Elham has studied architecture and, through her instagram feed, she documents day-to-day life while also highlighting her artwork that distinguishes her history, culture and perspective on the modern world. 

Elham's artwork recently posted on instagram
In the wake of our exploration (in Photographer Series #25) of Maria Sheila Miani's insertion of today's fashion icons into well known impressionist paintings, ishotkatemoss was particularly attracted to Elham's collages that utilized miniatures and other Persian symbolism contrasted with modern western imagery.

iskm: How would you describe your artwork? 

Elham Goodarzi (EG): My artwork is created influences by time; the time that has passed, the time that will come and the time that I'm currently living. And the fact that, in my opinion, there is no more that much of difference between “eastern” culture and “western” culture. And what we currently have at least in my country is a combination of different cultures and some times it’s weird but necessary.  

iskm: Do you feel that the interaction of time and influence, is specifically unique and different in Iran?

EG: Well I think you can experiment with this interaction in Iran more than any other place. We had a rich and brilliant culture and fortunately we kept it for hundreds of years and now the interaction between our heritage and what we have now has created this big contradiction in our lives. On the other hand we have a growing western culture and our desire to reach a modern lifestyle. The combination of all of this had influence my work a lot.

Elham's collage, "Brought out of heaven"
iskm: Is your work primarily collage?

EG: Well I don't always do collage but collage is one way for me to put my ideas on paper as soon as possible. I also use video arts as well. I see all this as a process, a process to come up with an description of my life and sometimes just putting colors on canvas of attaching pieces of pictures together seems not to work out, so I have to search and experience other ways like digital art or even architecture.

iskm: Why do you use images of kate moss?

EG: Kate moss is the girl that everyone wants to be and everyone wants to be with. Of course, not everyone ;)

iskm: Even in Iran?

EG: Kate Moss is a sample and picture of what everyone wants to be. Of course in Iran like anywhere else in word people have ideals and none, in many respects, of them are that far from what Kate Moss is and Marilyn Monroe was once.

iskm: How do you search and choose your source images? Are you looking for specific styles? Specific artists? How do you select the image to insert?

"Kate Moss turns saint"
EG: It is all about the idea and picture I have in my mind and how I develop that. Most of the images in my works are from the internet. Often I search for something specific. Sometimes what I choose is something completely different and sometimes what I see in my searches changes my whole idea. I usually don’t do any specific changes to the image just have to crop them.

iskm: You use Persian miniatures often in your collages - why?

EG: The choosing of miniatures is a clear reference to my Persian culture. Persian miniatures amuse me in so many ways. Particularly the way that it stops time and in its weird perspective tells you a story.

iskm: Can you explain the idea of contrasting an ancient form, such as miniatures, with the modern expression of a playboy image?

EG: I have had this thing with Persian miniature for quite a long time. I see miniatures as a strong way to tell a story on one small piece of paper, modern life fits in miniature quite well. Even with a Playboy picture.

iskm: Why playboy imagery specifically?

EG: Playboy is a manly company with manly products. In that context I had to offer all those men a present. So what’s better that a Playboy bunny as a gift?

iskm: Has playboy been present in Iran for some time, or only arrived recently? 

EG: Playboy never had been present in Iran as far as I know, but everyone accesses the internet and so you can see the images anytime you want.

iskm: Is any of the content you are searching for, playboy or otherwise,  ever blocked? Do you have trouble accessing images?

EG: About the internet, sometimes there is trouble with some websites but people know how to deal with them. And I guess besides that problem we can access any content.
iskm: Much of your artwork comments on the role and/or perception of the role of women and their sexuality. Can you speak to how and why you choose such symbols and engage in such conversation?

EG: What I was trying to tell was what everyone are whispering, but yet are afraid to talk about it. I guess some people still are shy about their sexual life and generally their personal life. But today we are far away from anything personal. All we want to do is to create a world that everyone else thinks we are living, even if we are not living that life. My conversations are based on daily real interactions that are funny but still very true.

"Hyper Sexual in Castle"
iskm: Do you think that Iran is still whispering about women’s rights? sexuality? fashion? porn? media? etc

EG: Of course it does just as other the rest of the world is. We access media and modern life styles quite the same as other countries (most of the people from other countries however think we don’t). Of course the picture that is present in media of Iran is different from what it is in so many ways.

iskm: Which artists would you most want to most see involved in ishotkatemoss?  

EG: There are so many. One of my favorite artists is Robert Rauschenberg. I started wondering about collage while looking at his work. He is one of the greatest artists of all time and the presentation of his feelings through art has influenced me a lot. I think that if Raucshenberg had wanted to collage with Kate Moss, he would create something as interesting as de Kooning’s Marilyn Monroe.

And while we can only dream of seeing a Rauschenberg kate, you can actually see more of Elham’s work and ongoing perspective of life in Iran at www.instagram/elhamgoodrz/.

And so whether you are in Tehran or New York, remember to ...

Observe. Slow Down. Shoot. Submit.

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