Light and Soul (2011) is photographic series by Saba Alizadeh.
How soon we forget and how soon we will be forgotten.
Summoning the dead on Saba Alizadeh’s series of works
The war between Iran and Iraq was the longest war in the 20th century. This war was started by Saddam Hussain massive attacks on Iran in 1980 and lasted for eight years during which more than two hundred and twenty thousand Iranian were killed. Apart from the tragic aspects of this historical event; the Iranian government use of the casualties for propaganda is so wide spread that it put aside the real damages.
. The image that Iranian mass media have been giving of this war -either during or after the war seems more like a national epic than a ghastly disaster which it truly is. . This is how the troopers and the ordinary people who were killed during this war have turned into iconic heroes! These heroes seem so untouchable and godlike there is no space left for sympathy! . In his new series light and soil; Saba Alizadeh -young Iranian Artist- acts performatively and the outcome is a series of photos challenging the confrontation. Alizadeh projects documentary images of Iranian soldiers on the furniture of Iranian houses: an army rallying on a couch,the dead body of a soldier lolling on a soft blanket; bodies of soldiers lying down … the images and houses have at least two decades interval but the way the artist creates his images intertwines them as one. The ones who were killed in war and the soldiers waiting to confront the enemy and death probably.
There is a phrase written on the wall that gives a new meaning to reproducing these war images: how soon we forget and how soon we will be forgotten! Light and soil reminds us that each soldier who is a part of a war tableau now; had a life, ambitions, and ideas and … that he had a home, a safe place. This safety now belongs to other people; and this image has nothing to do with the myth that media made of the war and its victims. Saba Alizadeh represents beds as an icon for the three periods in life: birth, youth (love and embraces) and death!
Though digital manipulation is an ideal way to produce artworks like light and soil, the artist prefers to use a video projector instead and avoid post production. Alizadeh chose these images and portraits from six thousands documentary images and project them on furniture in the twilight .
The procedure of choosing images -reviewing the images in the museum of war and what has been shown in media forms Iranian’s visual memory of war- the act of projecting images in private places and its resemblance to rituals of summoning spirits are all elements that transforms the production procedure of this series into a performative act; the act which is far more important than the final images.