An Interview with Siamak Azmi
Throughout the history of fantasy, there have always been traces of dolls; from Pinocchio, a carving of the Italian writer Carlo Collodi in the hands of Geppetto, to Disney’s latest Toy Story. Dolls play an important role in emotional development occurs early in childhood. They sometimes become the very first companions before any human friendship. They gradually take personality, reflect the outer world, and epitomize inner feelings. An Iranian painter, Siamak Azmi, spotlights dolls in his collection called the Dolls.
A doll in Azmi’s collection is like a device and has a very close relationship with mankind. These dolls are not typical; in fact, they have their own human characteristics. In the crowd of dolls and their togetherness, our today’s world is illustrated and reflects the narrow boundary between being a human and being a doll. The domination of red and orange in these works makes the coloration of a theatre stage in which we see the actors playing their roles as puppeteers.
Siamak Azmi was born in 1972. He has been painting professionally and continuously since 1992. Nowadays, Siamak Azmi’s works are being kept in reputable art galleries of Iran, Canada, France, etc.
Either in his life or his works, he expresses himself as a person who learns through the path. “I believe, in every moment a dice will be thrown for us and we should play according to the dice to the best of our ability,” he says, “although human abilities are often imperfect, by trial and error, we gradually learn. As far as I am a person who discovers and learns what should be done in the process, naturally, these works have shaped through the process.” As Michel-Ange said: “hand paints and eye judges,” this process is experiential learning.
Azmi thinks that the Dolls collection has three types of expression. One type is depicted and the viewer can understand some of the concepts easily. Another type of expression can be understood by the ones who are acquainted with his thoughts. They have special addressees and only those can understand the issues. At last, some expressions are not expressed. Those expressions cannot be easily discovered and this quality makes an artwork appealing so that it remains in mind for centuries. Sometimes these unexpressed expressions cannot be discovered even by the artist himself. In fact, some elements of an artwork can be perceived by a part of the brain which he calls “reason.” He says, “reason perceives some concepts fast but, it cannot perceive some parts of an artwork.”
Rana: How many years have you been working as a painter?
Siamak: I am working professionally as a painter since 1992, and I have experienced painting, every style of painting, with different mediums. But, gradually I chose this genre which I am working on today.
Rana: What painting genre do you work on?
Siamak: At first when I started painting, I really liked surrealism but, gradually I chose modern arts because an artist can combine several genres and reach a personal resolution. I can say that these days I’m working on modern arts but in my own way. As a matter of fact, it’s a special feature of modern art that your artwork can be very much personalized. When I started painting, for several years I had a surrealistic attitude in my works. But, today I’m not following any specific genre. I see painting as a medium for transmuting meaning through the language of the picture without any specific framework.
Rana: What are you trying to reflect in your paintings?
Siamak: I believe that art in its sublime meaning is transmuting a superior world into the earthly world. I also believe that artists should have the ability to make their spiritual and moral experiences observable; a kind of transmuting rationality to observability, and the artist who doesn’t have that spiritual experience have nothing to put on display. Every artist has some spiritual achievements and tries to makes them observable by the use of their very own medium, and finally exhibiting them to the viewers.
Rana: Tell us about the Dolls exhibition (or the Great Nothing) at Gallery of Nian?
Siamak: The Dolls exhibition was held with the effort of Nian gallery in Istanbul, Turkey. Moreover, several exhibitions of the Dolls have been held both in Iran and abroad.
Rana: Do the dolls exist or they have been made in your mind?
Siamak: The Dolls is a combination of mentality and the models of the dolls that I have. According to the concept I have in mind, a pattern will be made by these dolls. The pattern may change throughout the process of painting.
Rana: At the end, tell us about the idea and material of the Dolls. Why did you choose the dolls?
Siamak: In a nutshell, the dolls represent modern human, and the transformation of human into actors, a puppet that is being manipulated by the media and modern superpowers. In my opinion, there is a very narrow boundary between being a human and being a doll. Being a human means trying to reach the sublime dignity of oneself, and being a doll means being a puppet and an actor in today’s modern world. The Dolls collection shows pantheism in the point of view of a sacred intelligence.