The wind will carry us

Artist: mandana moghaddam Tags: permanent art Permanent konst

A bed, a chair, two stools, a carpet and a desk with a perpetually shining lamp. The room – the concrete sculpture – has neither walls nor ceiling but is open to whoever wants to enter. Approaching the room and stepping into the sculpture, we hear voices, the sound of phone calls between people from different parts of the world.

“These conversations take the listener on a global journey, flying across borders, and linking the past, present and future,” says Moghaddam.

CURATOR KRISTINA MÖSTER NILSSON COMMENTS

She was a young woman at the time, heading towards a new life in West Bothnia (Västerbotten) and Sweden. One morning in September 27 years later, Mandana Moghaddam is sitting in Lindellhallen at Umeå University, looking down at the construction site on Vindarnas torg. The wind sweeps in from the west. Opposite Lindellhallen, the yellow facade of the Humanities building runs along the side of the park. The place engages Moghaddam in a dialogue, and the vision of an artwork appears. A poem by the Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad is recited in Moghaddam’s memory on her return to West Bothnia. Later on, when it is time to name the work of art, she gives it a title that refers distinctly to the poet.This morning, Moghaddam sees that her art and the place belong together. The Umeå University Campus is filled with people from all over. Students and researchers form a miniature world. Moghaddam’s art is about communication, regardless of who you are and what language you choose. She is profoundly aware of style, and the language of the material decides how the work of art will speak. In Umeå she converts her own experiences as a vulnerable young person seeking refuge, into the notion of a site-specific space that anyone can visit. In the concrete installation The Wind Will Carry Us Moghaddam lends a sober dignity to the conversations and memories of her fellow humans.The senses explore textile fibres
Today, on Vindarnas Torg (Plaza of the Winds), the installation is surrounded by the lawn and the park. The Wind Will Carry Us lies a few paces from the path, inviting us to step into it. A bed, a chair, two stools, a carpet and a desk with a perpetually shining lamp. It may be silent for a short moment, but then a weak voice is heard over the telephone from somewhere in the world. It blends with another voice in a conversation. Every person who enters the room participates in the work of art. Someone perhaps sits down on the upholstered stool, which is already sagging. Or they caress the puckered blanket with their hand. A head has made a dent in the pillow. The desk has been used by others before. The oriental carpet gives the fairly commonplace room a touch of tarnished elegance. The warmth of the textiles has been transformed into hard concrete surfaces. But our senses perceive the fibres, feeling their folds and forms.To cast a vision
A mere year after Moghaddam’s September visit to Umeå, the air is humming nervously at the concrete casting factory in Träkumla on Gotland. Stina Lindholm, head of this sculpture-producing industry, and her staff have been working for months with Moghaddam to achieve the artist’s vision. The casts, the reinforcements and moulds are ready. When the concrete mixer arrives it delivers half an hour of dancing concrete. The slithering mass is poured like thick buttermilk into the moulds; the desk, the pillows, and, finally, the carpet. It’s a quick process. What remains when the truck has departed is to wait for a few days for the concrete to set. It’s a case of living with the knowledge that it may have failed, for when the moulds are removed, they will reveal the raw work of art. An artistic language that the artist has described and aspired to should be manifested both in the small details and in the totality. But a few days later, when Lindholm and her team open the moulds, Moghaddam’s vision is revealed – there it stands, in concrete.A key work
The Wind Will Carry Us is a key work in Moghaddam’s oeuvre. She allows the piece to be fragile and balance on the brink of difficult existential issues in the midst of current events. Moghaddam imbues the material with the big questions in life. In this work the medium is concrete, in others it is human hair or mirror mosaics. With the vulnerability that Moghaddam’s art bravely embraces, the artistic language is loud and clear regardless of the beholder’s place in life.

ABOUT MANDANA MOGHADDAM

Mandana Moghaddam was born in Tehran in 1962. She was in her teens when the revolution in Iran broke out, an event with tragic consequences for her family, when her father, who was in the Shah’s army, was executed. Her studies were interrupted when they were forced to escape. As a young adult, she was granted asylum in Sweden and lived initially in Västerbotten. Today, Mandana Moghaddam mainly creates installation art. Her works deal with alienation, communication and feminism – and inspiring dialogues. Art builds cultural bridges between people and places. She has participated in numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale, Museum Rietberg in Zurich and the Incheon Women Artists’ Biennial in South Korea. Mandana Moghaddam lives in Gothenburg.