Short Reviews

on Iranian

Contemporary Art

Exhibition Review


All those who know Najaf Shokri, might first remember him with his mesmerizing texts. It is so difficult for me to write about somebody’s work when writing was created to let him write, and I hope I wouldn’t disappoint him by writing about him.
“Words” is a display of how involved he is with writing and especially words, in a deeper and much more personal layer. Najaf has got his entrance into the world of words and even part of his knowledge of the world, from Ahmad, his older brother, whose job was to displace the words (bureaucratic papers), and this is how he explains it: “When I was a kid, he constantly put words together to convince me that the globe was lying on the back of a gigantic whale or located on the horn of a fat huge cow. If those animals shook, the world would momentarily be destroyed. As I grew up, he became more aware of the order of things in the world; thus, laughingly dismissed his old sayings. As hard as it could take, he tried obsessively to correct those, word by word, in my mind. As if he was Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol’s Akaky Akakievich, a Russian bureaucrat who spent his whole life copying letters.”
It seems like “Words” is the only image and understandable and recognizable form of the world in front of Ahmad, Najaf’s brother, in the last days of his life; the world in which he was once aware of his acts!