Such a landmark exhibition is appropriately accompanied by a wide range of audio tours, public programs and talks helping provide a richer experience for the visiting public. As always, children are catered for with an ingenious discovery room built in mid-way through the exhibition – is this the point at which it was assumed children would start getting tired? It is welcome and well conceived. The only downside to Renaissance is the relentless commercialisation of souvenir product no sooner has one left the exhibition – there can barely be an everyday domestic object which has not been stamped or printed with some reproduction of the Italian Masters. The contrast with the quiet veneration inherent in the artworks themselves is extraordinary. The NGA has every right to recoup the no doubt substantial costs associated with mounting and insuring an exhibition of this nature, but the souvenir gallery is reminiscent of those duty free stores between the aircraft door and customs clearance – an unavoidable swamp of the unnecessary that does nothing to enhance the overall experience. Perhaps, though, the Medicis would have admired such commercial zeal.
Second in from the middle of 20th century.
Taghizadeh brings her 2009 series Rock, Paper, Scissors to Australia for the first time. She has never exhibited here before and is unsure how her work will be received. Taghizadeh created the series for an Iranian audience, dealing with what she believed to be local issues. However the series has travelled all over the globe from Croatia to Turkey to South America and now to our shores.
"It had transformed the idea I had about what is local and what is universal," Taghizadeh explained. "Human beings haven't got borders – human concerns and the human condition are universal."
The series consists of lenticular prints of old newspapers depicting the 1978 revolution in Iran which saw the Shah overthrown and the country become a republic. The prints also display images from the pages of art history with pictures of artworks by Hieronymous Bosch, Pieter Bruegel and French revolutionary-era painter Jacques-Louis David. The final layer of these images shows hands depicting the game rock, paper, scissors.
Taghizadeh combines these historic images depicting the French revolution and the medieval era with her revolution (the newspaper images) and the rock, paper, scissors game of chance.
"The whole thing is a game to me, that's why I have called it Rock, Paper, Scissors. It's all based on immediate reactions, not based on rationality. It's on taking a chance on randomness."
The choice of lenticular technique is an important aspect of Taghizadeh's work. "It's an old technique which was popular in the 70s. It carries a historic memory in its nature. It's from the era I am depicting."
There is also a sense of nostalgia with Taghizadeh remembering it as her, "first encounter with the magic of the image – the magic that with every moment it would change and transform".
The lenticular prints involve the audience in the process of creating the works – it connects the audience, the creator and the work. Taghizadeh says: "The viewer needs to be physically involved by moving from one side to another. This is similar to the movement I make with my hand when I am creating the work. This in itself creates a sense of anxiety which is similar to what was happening at the time in that era."
Involving the audience in this process is also asking them to be part of the restlessness. She is depicting a restless period in the history of Iran using a technique which is restless in that one slight movement can change the image.
The 2012 Adelaide Festival's loose theme of Heaven and Hell and what lies in-between is also reflected in Taghizadeh's work. Taghizadeh was surprised how well her work fits this theme and how precise her choice of historical artworks had been. She uses images from Bosch, who as a biblical painter often tackled the issue of the final judgement and the limbo in-between.
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