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Miradas Paralelas (Parallel Looks) – Iran-Spain: Photographers in the Mirror

Art Scene

Miradas Paralelas (Parallel Looks) – Iran-Spain: Photographers in the Mirror

A stunning pairing of works by 12 female photographers from Iran and Spain is on view in the exhibition Miradas Paralelas (Parallel Looks) – Iran-Spain: Photographers in the Mirror. None of the photographers were aware of their partners’ work prior to the exhibition, however, a compelling synergy exists, suggesting a shared humanity across cultures.

Installation view with work by Amparo Garrido and Rana Javadi in the foreground.

Held at New York University’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, an introductory statement by Zara Fernández de Moya, Director of the Cultural Association of the Western Mediterranean (MED-OCC), notes the “need for spaces of permanent exchange and debate that help develop, inside the field of contemporary visual arts, the latent cultural connection between Spain and other countries like Morocco, Syria and, now, Iran.” The exhibition has toured in Iran and Spain, and is now on view in the United States for the first time.

María Zarazúa and Newsha Tavakolian 

The photographic pairs on view feature work by: Cristina García Rodero and Hengameh Golestan; Isabel Muñoz and Gohar Dashti; Soledad Córdoba and Shadi Ghadirian; Amparo Garrido and Rana Javadi; Mayte Vieza and Ghazaleh Hedayat; and María Zarazúa and Newsha Tavakolian. A variety of images ranging from portraiture and conceptual black and white images to ethereal architectonic landscapes and digitally manipulated collage style photographs offer a poetic and intimate view into gender dynamics, feelings of social isolation and alienation, memory, class, and public and private space, among other themes.

Isabel Muñoz and Gohar Dashti

The complementary works of Isabel Muñoz (Spain) and Gohar Dashti (Iran) each populate minimalist desert landscapes with the female figure. In both images, the women are covered entirely in black from head to toe. However, Muñoz’s black and white photograph features a singular figure striking a powerful pose in profile against a decaying white wall. The wall stands in like a photographer’s backdrop in the center of the image, amidst crumbling bricks and debris, while the woman’s elegantly raised arm and billowing long black dress create sensuous shapes and shadows.

Dahsti’s image, in muted earth tone colors, extends Muñoz single figure whose face is obscured into a collective sense of womanhood. It features 11 women seated on a long couch in the center of the frame. A hilly horizon line against a dull sunless daytime sky runs parallel to the row of women, behind and above their heads. The foreground of the image features scraggly tufts of faded green grass, suggesting a sense of lack. However, the uniqueness of each woman’s face is still visible, placing their humanity front and center.

Soledad Córdoba and Shadi Ghadirian

Miradas Paralelas (Parallel Looks) – Iran-Spain: Photographers in the Mirroris on view at New York University’s King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center through December 9, 2018.