This work shows my position as an immigrant. It is the script or the body of my mother tongue, which does not have its own function anymore in my everyday life. It has become some kind of beautiful surface, it is something between text and ornament.
Parastou Forouhar was born and brought up in Iran. Her parents, who had been critical of the regime of the Shah and the Islamic regime, were murdered in their house in 1998 through a frenzied stabbing. It was the first of a series of brutal murders of intellectuals in Iran. Forouhar left Iran for Germany where she still lives: not ‘Iranian’ anymore, but also not ‘German’, and not comfortable with labels. She has spoken of the possibility of saying serious things in a light or playful manner. This work speaks of how European cultures can project their own meanings onto Middle-Eastern cultures, without any real understanding. – Hilary Robinson, Curator
The immigration from Iranian culture to Western, to Germany, I think, was very important to form my artistic work as it is now. This work shows my position as an immigrant. It is the script or the body of my mother tongue, which does not have its own function anymore in my everyday life. So it has become some kind of beautiful surface, it is something between text and ornament. They are just fragments of words or characters of Farsi that I draw in the rhythm of writing but they do not express anything in a matter of text. So it is actually the memory, a beautiful memory, but it is also some kind of an occupation of the space given to me an as immigrant, as a new person. I used the architecture, I used the space but I put another surface on it. In doing that I occupied it, it became my own space. That is something that I think is very much connected to being an immigrant. Every space that you are put in has got its own history and character but you may be able to change it and bring in a new situation that becomes your own. That is what I am doing in this work. Being an immigrant, but also being a woman for me it is being in the spaces in between, What I do is to define this space in between as my space with my work.
Calligraphy is a tradition in Iranian but also Muslim culture. If you do write things in calligraphic form it must be a very important text, it always has a very heavy meaning that you are transporting to the viewer, to the audience. Mostly it is about writing the holy texts, the Koran. So actually, what I do is that I am not transporting any meaning. So the text is about making it free of this pressure of meaning. I hope that the work opens some kind of space for subjective impressions for the viewer and not just bring them to one way of reading.
Parastou Forouhar was born in 1962 in Tehran, Iran. The daughter of political activist Parvaneh Forouhar and politician Dariush Forouhar, her parents were murdered in 1988 and Parastou relocated to Germany in 1991, where she lives and works. Parastou Forouhar lives in exile because the Iranian government considers her to be a political threat.
She studied art of the University of Tehran where she earned her BA. She earned her MA from Hochschule from the Aufbaustudium an der Hochschule für Gestaltung.