Art Dubai 2021
Presenting "We Keep Reviewing" at Art Dubai 2021, SARADIPOUR Art (SARAI) invites us to revisit the familiar, nostalgic, and contradictory school environment; an all-boys school in Iran with its similarities and peculiarities. The ongoing series by figurative artist, art educator, and researcher in visual arts, Moslem Khezri (b. 1984, Iran), began in 2015. It consists of empty and populated scenes, painted and drawn in various wide or square frames, each sensitively staged with nearly theatrical lighting.
Each work is the result of a series of crucial decisions from taking photographs to the painterly restructuring of images on canvas and paper, echoing the artist's mastery of the subject and his naturalistic obsession for the figures' gestures and their arrangement in space to appear as realistic and random as possible. The artist enjoys full authority over all the relationships in forms and space, yet neither he nor his camera seems to attract any attention; a god out of sight. Thus, we may join the artist as the invisible guests of these halls, classrooms, and courtyards, wandering around, secretly watching these students; students whose varied moving and static figures together with the contrasting geometric architecture and furniture around them all come to life in a light-and-shadow play, creating scenes that are somewhat reminiscent of the spectacular, dramatic staging of Baroque paintings. These works, however, are ultimately realistic both in terms of form and content. Here, the sharp tension between those strong warmer and cooler colors of the earlier works has turned into a hushed, elegant harmony that is the fruit of the chemistry of blue and gray touches with warmer glazes and marks. Throughout these tableaux, a bittersweet and nostalgic story – from adolescent camaraderie and playfulness to unspoken worries, uniforms, and long midday hours – is narrated, line by line and form by form, by the long, pale fingertips of winter sunlight.
Those who once went to these schools listen on silently as they find themselves immersed in the dry smell of pencil shavings and the half-sweet scent of ink coming out of a blue pen; their hands slide over the names scratched on the desk, their right shoulders slightly hurting under the weight of a backpack. While others, who might be new to such environments, curiously explore the school architecture, the schoolboys' hairstyles, the color of their uniforms, or just about any other details from a Middle Eastern single-gender school. "We Keep Reviewing" is a prism of realities that casts back a slightly different color into each pair of eyes.