Chapter II: Ichor
Greek Mythology – the ethereal fluid, not blood, supposed to flow in the veins of the gods.
Pathology – a watery, acrid discharge from certain wounds and sores.
Ichor exhibition is the second chapter of ilāj Curatorial Projects inspired by a chain narrative of interpretations that started from the Greek mythology of Daedalus and Icarus.
-The Metamorphoses book by Ovid written in 8 AD.
-The Landscape with the Fall of Icarus painting by Pieter Bruegel the elder in 1560s
-The "Musée des Beaux Arts" poem by W.H.Auden in 1939
- “Ichor” poem by Gavin Bantock in 1968.
The different interpretations produced over time shape the terrain of this research and the dialogue between the curator and the artists in this project.
Part of Curator's Note
The tragic story of Daedalus and Icarus has been interpreted in many ways in different cultures through different times: the ascension of human to the spiritual realm, uniting with the divine and being flared by the sun of truth, the consequence of ambition, and even the fall of man. Our intension is not to carry on with the same narrative. Icarus pushed himself to the boundaries trying to achieve the impossible as a modern activist. There has always been a barrier separating mortal beings and powerful gods. Despite such discrimination between Superior gods and inferior beings, we still hear voices from this class that rise against the gods. Regardless of such hierarchy, the battle between the society and the power structure is happening in a different way today.
The artist challenges us to question the official narrative.
Photo , wax , thermal lamp 150 x 133 Cm
(Wax: 14 x 12 cm)
This installation refers to the zone where Icarus fell into the sea in the painting of Pieter Bruegel the elder, to look for the answers. In Bruegel’s painting, the sun is seen disappearing over the horizon far from the scenery of the fall. However, according to the official narrative of Ovid, the sun should have been at the zenith in order to have the capacity to melt the wax that secured Icarus’s wings. Nevertheless, Bruegel suggests that the sun is setting in the horizon, as well as revealing a dagger in the foreground and a decapitated head in the darkness of the woods. In Bruegel’s painting an alternative theme emerges that challenges us to question the official narrative of Ovid and the unresolved truth behind the story. This installation was presented in two parts: A piece of wax melting under the heat lamp; a reference to Ovid’s narrative of the sun melting the wax that held the wings of Icarus. The second part is a photo installation with a scratch on the spot of the fall to investigate the cause of Icarus’s death, indicating the anomalies of Bruegel’s painting compared to the official narrative. Was Icarus responsible for his own death? Could he have been murdered and then thrown into the sea? What is the connection between Icarus’s death and his imprisonment? If we consider Daedalus as the one who narrates Icarus’s fall, what could have been his motive to blame Icarus for his own death? Was Icarus meddling in something that drove him to his death- while other spectators in the painting refuse to get involved in the incident that happened before their eyes.
"I hate the bird's eye, it shines, but never moves"
100 x 70 Cm
Oil paint on canvas
Part of Curator's Note
There is a tie between the hero who decides to fly high, and the spectators who fly in the middle. The society who witness the fall of the hero are participants to the same fall- if not turning their faces away. If they stand still witnessing the incident, even though they survive the fall, they still break. The punishment of the spectators who avoided a fall, is to watch the hero’s fall. This collective trauma potentially recollects a sealed history. It is a history that belongs to the whole humankind, and yet powerful gods appropriate it throughout history.
"I curse this bloodless world. I curse the silence and am silent."
Crystalized Bones, Charcoal ash,
Transferred Image on Paper 24 frames
21 x 27 cm
Slide projector glass and light
6 x 6 x15 Cm
Splash of few moments on blood icicles
A piece for Icarus
Part of the text
Memory is immersed in the eye socket. It is the following day and it seems earth is stuck with me; time has begun yet? “future, o’ future is a sly cat lounging under the sun, yawning”. I remember me on the morrow from my clenched fists fallen on the open wounds and sewn mouths “their misdeed against us is like how worms mortified Job’s remains, o’ History, commemorate us… O’ History, anguished isles were our perpetual temples”. Hours has crawled out from behind the ear and I recall plenty of kisses and plenty of open arms… time has begun yet? “History! Life is thousands of departures and death, is just another departure”.
Mohammadreza Arab Khazaeli
Oil on Canvas
60 x 40 Cm
Acrylic on Canvas
50 x 35 Cm
Acrylic on Canvas
40 x 30 Cm
Supposedly, we have opened our eyes to the world just in the middle of the fall and shut them right before crashing the ground. Neither do we know the hands entrusting the fall with our vulnerable, bare souls, nor do we recognize the stiffened ground which soon is going to be covered with our flesh and bones.
The fallen mere exertion is attaining blankness, a cosmic void that submerges the whole universe within in that instant. No beholders for this ambiguous fall, but ourselves, all the fallen who ponder over themselves through the scattered carcass and remains. This perpetuating fall is shaped by the spectators, never perishes, perhaps just in fascination, perhaps just in the disintegration of an interlude withal. Ay, the reciter captures the ongoing scene in their imagination and all the fallen cluelessly freeze in the middle of this act. The moment the scene halts, a sustained, intelligible entity is born.
“Falling” is a set of works in Ichor exhibition in an attempt to preserve the circumstance. The falling element moves from case to case. Whether the fallen is an object, a person, or a concept, it logs into a journey that reaches to a fraction of time and dimension, which within itself has infinite diminishing units enabling numerous encounters- as such encounters that rejuvenates through the passage of experience and it’s recurrence seems impossible.
Pastel and Ink on Graph Paper
150 x 100 Cm
"A Record of Intermittent Silence"
Mixed media installation
40 x 40 x 25 Cm
“Trauma” is a term borrowed from ancient Greek meaning “wound." Sigmund Freud defined trauma as damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of one's inability to process severely distressing events.
Communities often respond to traumatic events in their history by erasing or altering details to bar the unwanted experiences from memory. At its core, emotional numbing and active forgetting is a coping mechanism that blocks our ability to confront and process extremely painful or overwhelming events. Therefore, a community runs the imminent risk of suffering from collective amnesia. The healing process of a trauma begins when the incident that caused the distress is recognized.
Two artists working in different genres came together to travel back in time to confront a traumatizing event in order to make sense of it. This work attempts to give voice to the past while deconstructing the invisible residue of a distressing event. Drawing from their personal experience, the artists become witnesses by laying bare the trauma of a historical memory as a symbolic healing process. This work is not an attempt to reproduce the reality of the past but to offer an empathetic testimony to a collective experience of trauma.