Alireza Varzandeh | Standstill in Motion
Text: Stephanie Hentschel
The Cologne-based artist Alireza Varzandeh reveals day-to-day life, the structures and customs of society to us as if through a looking glass. From boisterous beach scenes to urban construction workers, passers-by and cyclists in traffic, people walking in the park, in rain and shine, to extremely colourful floral still life scenes ñ there does not seem to be any subject that is unworthy of painting or uninteresting from the composition perspective for this artist, who was born in Persia in 1963. As if he were using a zoom lens, Alireza Varzandeh creates extreme close-ups of selected scenes of vibrant, fast-paced contemporary life and brings them to a standstill for a brief moment. The viewer is spontaneously and unexpectedly drawn into the pictorial narrative and cast under the spell of his works thanks to the extensive color palette, purposeful placement of shadings, reflections and light accents. As when adjusting the focus of a camera lens, the motifs of the paintings are initially sketched on canvas in abstract form, then applied in great detail in oil, only to be subsequently painted over again, thus creating an abstract, more objective view. During this work process, the artist himself already appears to go through the individual steps that the viewer also experiences when standing before the completed work [...]
This proximity, which the artist generates between the viewer and the work of art, is interrupted once again by the spatial distance from the picture that the viewer must maintain in order to even be able to comprehend the motif of the painting. Therefore, the result is constant alternation between proximity and distance, motion and standstill, in terms of the design elements that Alireza Varzandeh uses in his painting as well as with respect to the content-related message. Moreover, the viewer seems to be earmarked as an essential participant in every regard, which consequently forces him leave the role of a merely passive observer behind.