Artist’s Residency: Leila Pazooki
February – July 2012
The latest exhibition by Berlin based artist Leila Pazooki is the result her research and work during months of residency in Indonesia. In her recent works she has tried to formulate her role as a conceptual artist in relation to producers, artisans and craftsmen and in this case she has done so through elements of local culture.
She has reflected upon this relationship in the light of “animism” as an important and ancient aspect of many local religions. Animism negates the presumed borders between spiritual and material worlds. In this philosophy objects are believed to have a life of their own with their souls engaged in dialogs and interactions with the rest of the world. The universe is therefore a continuum and the Cartesian subject/object duality cannot be valid in this model of thought.
The relationship between presence and absence, materiality and spirituality, object and subject are therefore seen in Pazooki’s work through this philosophy. She has tried to incorporate this philosophy into her process of art making. As part of her investigation on these themes Pazooki asked a group of local artisans to make a series of objects sphere shaped objects. However they were free to make their own interpretations of the form. The results are as diverse as perfectly smooth and rounded balls to tessellated and faceted polyhedrons. However these various shapes are manifestations of an idea in Platonic sense. Each craftsman has made a distinctive form which depicts his/her unique path of perception and creation. The objects and their lives are all associated and different at the same time.
As another component we see silhouettes of some paintings on the wall, shown with a number of descriptive texts written by a group of participants in a workshop. Images have been removed while their traces in the form of interpretations are available. The audience is therefore invited to perceive the absent imagery through words and narratives. The excluded image leaves a vast space for imagination as well as logical comparison and inference based on the textual information. The absence here encourages creative engagement on the audiences’ side.
Empty spaces in mind which has been depicted in Pazooki’s work through complementary approaches can be seen as a precondition for expanded perception. In her work it is seen as a potential for understanding as well as fantasy. Beyond orthodox frameworks of perception the mind is set free to establish a dialectical relationship between present and absent entities. Hope, imagination and magical thought become possibilities in such a fluid mode of thought and perception. The emptiness creates a field of potentialities for heterotopias where subjects and objects can meet and change roles.