Mamali Shafahi

Daddy Tissue

The artistic practice of Mamali Shafahi (b.1982, Iran) varies from installation to sculpture and film and includes a deep fascination with the impact of emerging technologies on life and art.

Daddy Tissue, Mamali Shafahi's first solo exhibition at Everyday Gallery, is the latest part of the ‘Daddy Sperm’ project that the artist started in 2012. Fascinated by the transformation he calls "the miracle of life", he explores the force of life and creation as it circulates between humans and from generation to generation. In this series, he investigates the mutations of identities and agencies -- mutations that simultaneously delineate and are delineated by social constructs. For him, the transformation of one drop of liquid into a creative subjectivity in a human body is a fair formulation of this miracle of life.

As a part of the project, in 2012 Shafahi asked his father, a then-72-year-old former wrestler, to start making drawings. The artist was keen to observe if he could find a creative gene shared between them. Since then, his father, Reza, has gone on to develop his own artistic practice and continues to create independently, based on his own inspiration.
Mamali has continued to involve his parents as actors and artists in a multitude of media and works, to take a closer look at the perverse implications of parent-child relationships in a mutual metamorphosis. They have now become a go-to artistic medium of the artist.

In his large-scale installation "Daddy Sperm" at the Palais de Tokyo he opened the space, filled with installation pieces, sculptures and furniture he had designed and produced, with a video in which he tells his father "l’m pregnant". Beside the monitor stood a giant wall constructed as a display for his father’s drawings, and throughout the installation, his experimental docu-fiction film "Nature Morte", in which his parents are the actors, was projected in various formats, developing a sense of ambiguity over creative agency: who is the artist; who the subject?

In his latest treatment of the theme, he is looking back at his own "classical" inheritance through the intergenerational buffer he has created, by making new works based on Reza’s drawings. "Daddy Tissue" is dedicated to Reza’s free-spirited and audacious imagery, in the form of three-dimensional representations of drawings flocked in brightly-colored monochrome. By committing to an external agency with whom he shares a presupposed and structured kinship, Shafahi brings about a decentralized eventuality. Lacking academic training and hence potentially more daring, Reza sits in a pole opposed to the established artist Mamali is, and these colorful relief works are thus showcases of decentralized agency.

Artists: Mamali Shafahi

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