Lurking in the Forest of our Minds

I first saw Soheil’s unforgettable work in 2013, his woods series done in acrylic. Already I was hooked. What goes on in these violent woods?

Eerie suspense-filled isolation,

10479571_509209805878438_4734012570841822826_n

watching eyes,

10418196_509209732545112_8147306761755096961_n

brutal violence.

10383974_507704116029007_1665007117680791879_n

His 2013 series is the stuff of top-notch horror films, filled with suspense and brutality. Yet, to me, they depict a space existing in the mind, not the outside world. The forest is the space in our minds we seldom wish to visit. Yet it is there. In all its aggression entanglement and terrifying anxiety. The woods of our minds, harbouring those dark feelings and fantasies which we all have somewhere inside us.

Soheil utilises scratchi  brush strokes (oppressive and uneasy) to create his menacing woods. His method resurrecting the great Cy Twombly. The undeniable power of the simple scratch.

In 2014, in a series exhibited at Shirin Gallery in Tehran titled the “Future of Sadness”, Soheil takes us to a new place in his woods. A place where the woods are even more oppressive.

IMG_8416

Why is it that Soheils woods are made of twisted trap-like twigs and hollowing branches? Why such harsh landscape? It is as if these woods were not from this world, they are other-worldly distopian kinds of woods. But why?

IMG_8386 Soheil told us more about this series, stating that we as humans believe woods and pastures to be calming, peaceful places. In the case of Soheil’s characters, however, when visiting their nature, they are brutally confronted with their internal anxieties, fragility and vulnerability. He expresses the reasons for their anxiety to be rooted in the grippings of what modern life has become and who we have turned into as contemporary species.

IMG_8414

IMG_8384

So harsh are the anxieties we carry around that, despite being in nature, we cannot find peace. As humans, we believe we have won the battle with nature, controlling it and bringing it under our command. However, in our struggle to control, we have lost the sense of ourselves, of our inner compass. And whilst we believed we had triumphed over nature, nature is actually more powerful. We are left with nothing more than our anxieties and perplexities: fragile.

9

 

Soheil Mokhtar, lives and works in Tehran Iran. Born 1985.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s