Poems of Solitude

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January 06, 2023 – January 13, 2023





Iranian photographer Hossein Goshtasbi's quiet, cinematic work fits within a genre the artist calls poetic conceptualism, characterized by dreamy settings and recurring surrealist motifs. Surrealism in Goshtasbi's hands evokes a morose and deeply personal joy. The heavy skies over idyllic settings; the wide frames of green under gray, the lonely dramas and clumsy ballets — typically between man and animal — staged at dead center.

Because the imagery isn't leagues away from reality, the story and emotion of his work are hinted at just strongly enough to captivate a viewer looking to solve an elegiac mystery. The titles of his pieces only complicate matters with their focus on peace and harmony to describe work that looks ripped from a tense Bergman dream sequence.

One might explain this split personality by saying that, underneath style, Goshtasbi's oeuvre can be categorized as optimistic realism. Deeply proud of his Persian heritage, these two pieces — "Imagine" and "The Algebra of Love" — are unwritten letters to himself imagining a harmonious Iran. Like the most human of surrealists before him — particularly writers and artists of the former Soviet bloc — Goshtasbi’s surrealism isn’t a lightly taken foray into novelty but rather a cautious means of direct communication.

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