AHOO MAHER

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress

After

As Merleau-Ponty states:

“The objective body is not the true version of the phenomenal body, that is, the true version of the body that we live; it is indeed no more than the latter’s impoverished image.”

The “After” series are large-format oil and acrylic paintings in which I depict calm and peaceful moments of the people around me. The characters are my friends who love to party. But I only show them when they are quiet and empty one day afterwards. They are no longer aggressive, loud, and energetic but instead have retreated to their homes in peace. When their souls have returned to their bodies, they will perceive themselves anew and return to everyday life.

I do not intend to criticize or confirm anything; I am just depicting people’s lives from another angle so that others may look at them similarly and perhaps relate or find recognizable elements. My intention is not take a moral stance, neither to make a statement; instead, I want to observe and consider without passing judgment, and to invite others to join me. I want to watch my surroundings from the outside and notice the concerns of my generation and their effect on me.

My starting point was the feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness that people sometimes experience when they return to their daily lives after a party. In my view, this is not necessarily positive or negative. I desire to have a neutral perspective, neither approving nor rejecting it: my standpoint is purely a moment of reflection. I want people to stop for a moment, pause, and look at the world from my point of view.

In the After paintings, I tell little stories. With limited colors and monotone background areas, I represent the moment’s silence and offer the possibility for the figures to stand out.

The revolution in Iran in 1979 brought about a dramatic shift in the use of public and private space. Activities and social gatherings which were previously permitted in public space were no longer allowed. As a result, people have retreated into private space, and most relaxed gatherings and parties are celebrated at home in order to avoid restrictions. Therefore, the mood and conditions at parties are also more personal than in a club in Europe for example. “After-hours” and post-party recovery also often happen on the same premises where the partying occurs. Whilst recovering you look around and observe the empty bottles, crisp packets, and other traces from the previous nights’ party. The contrast is stark – only a few hours earlier the scene of wild partying, the space is now calm and quiet, the surfaces and corners occupied by sleeping human forms