ONYX. Part I.
21.04.23 → 18.06.23
We are happy to share with you Onyx, Raha Raissnia’s exclusive screening that she has conceived to accompany her exhibition at Xippas Paris. The videos are created from the footage of her real-live performances/screenings in which she uses a composite of film projectors such as 16mm, super 8 and 35 slides, offering the viewer a truly unforgettable experience – a journey through an abstract landscape of shapes and patterns, in which, from time to time, one might notice recognisable figurative elements.
In Onyx, Raha Raissnia explores different mythologies, interweaving multiple timelines. Carefully constructed, her images are multilayered, fusing the architectural and the organic forms through the use of photographic and hand-painted materials. Meditative, they seek to induce the viewer into a trance-like state, guiding him/her through lights and shadows towards a deeper metaphysical meaning, or rather towards an intuition that there are interstices in the Being which also function like portals to the beyond. One would be invited to give in to a constantly changing, transformative flux of images, losing oneself in the multiplicity of historic and poetic references.
In this first part, we are pleased to show two of her most recent films : Nour III (2023) and Solaria II (2023), along with Raha’s texts that she has generously shared with us.
16mm film, color
Music by Panagiotis Mavridis, playing atermon (his own homemade instrument), and Per Billgren, playing electronics
“The film engages a few formal elements: from the realm of the manmade, I chose images of technology and architecture. From the organic world, I referenced patterns and textures of rock formations, rust, trees, and sun ray. My attempt was to evoke impressions that would transcend any perceived notions, and relations that are prevalent about these elements that make up part of the landscape of our humanity in crisis today. What I longed to capture was imagery that ironically would suggest harmony and beauty. The several translations that took place between film and video resulted in various surprising new tones and textures that are important to me. It is in this way that this work relates to my paintings.”
16mm film, 35mm slides, color, silent
“I made this work out of the raw footage I had generated for making Nour III. Both of these works came out of thinking about my recent paintings. As usual, I began with generating numerous stills and moving image clips out of a particular set of forms. In this case I photographed many parts of architecture and scientific forms I found through several trips into specific parts of New York City. I also filmed and photographed natural forms from the sidewalks and parks I chose to visit and found around where I lived. I shot everything with both moving and still cameras of different kinds: super8, 35mm, and my phone. Through a visceral manner that relied on chance and intuition I made this work through a layered process of cropping, splicing and superimposing various parts of what I had captured with my cameras”.
About the artist
Raha Raissnia was born in 1968 in Tehran, Iran, she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
She describes her work as belonging to the field of “Expanded Cinema” in which simultaneous practices of painting, live projection and installation create the corpus of a work that declines itself materially in painting, drawing, filmmaking, and now photography. The multidisciplinary interconnectedness of Raha Raissnia’s work creates a complex mise-en-abime between architectonic elements and biomorphic geometry, shifting the viewer’s perspective between an anatomy of living organisms and advanced electronic circuitry, while passing through an array of influences and references very carefully selected from high-art and popular culture alike, such as architectural drawings, the labyrinthic twists and turns of 20th Century “Wild Style” graffiti, and Classical Islamic calligraphy.