ONYX. Part II.
21.04.23 → 18.06.23
We are happy to share with you Onyx, Raha Raissnia’s exclusive screening which 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 the second part of the program, we are pleased to show three of her most recent films : Mneme (2016), Aviary (2019) and Animism (2016), along with Raha’s texts that she has generously shared with us.
Hand painted 16mm film with optical sound, hand painted collage 35mm slides, music by Panagiotis Mavridis playing his own home made instruments.
“In Greek mythology, Mneme is one of the three muses. She is memory personified. Her two sisters are Aoide, muse of song and music, and Melete, muse of study. When I finished making this work and showed it to Panagiotis, he said it made him think of the way our memory works. The work is made out of pre-existing materials that I cut, painted, and collaged together, making something entirely new. So, after reflecting a bit, I agreed with him that, yes, this is in fact analogous to the way our memory functions; Mneme puts together bits and pieces from the past and forms new meaning in the present”.
16 mm film, B/W, silent
“Film of light and shadows, transfigured entries and alters. The souls who shaped the structures I captured here are lost. Now only the wind, the sun and the moon have received them gracefully.
I began the process of making this film by superimposing and re-photographing various footage I shot directly from the surfaces of some of my paintings with imagery sourced from a box of 35mm slides found in the visual resource archive discarded by Brooklyn College, which depict the ruins of a 14th century mosque in India. By cropping, splicing, painting, layering and distorting them, this film opens up and complicates the possible denotations of the original photographs. Through the fusion of architectural and organic forms I have alluded to thoughts, feelings and ways of mankind which carry their ancient roots and move into the future.”
16 mm film, color, hand painted collage 35mm slides, projecting onto a black painting, sound is from a field recording of hurricane Sandy in New York
“Everything in life is part of a great order”.
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.