Text by Hoomi Bhabha

Draw the curtain

“Water and Persian Rugs” by Jalal Sepehr,Persian carpets are made to float on the surface of the sea as if some flying carpet had suddenly landed on the waves. In one image, a red speedboat takes a swift turn in the middle ground of the photograph, As if to part the carpet and the waves. The highly ornamental carpet is set against the “minimalist” frame of endless water. Two affective and aesthetic orders-nature and artifact-are further cropped, Printed and framed, So that a new relationship is forged between those images which we attribute to nature and those we attribute to culture they lie beside each other like surfaces of representation waiting to be related to one another.
What forces us to look at these two elements together as they intersect or overlap with one another is a third figure in the frame: the speedboat it is the split-second caught in the turning boat tilted to its side, emitting some spume of water in its wake. That signifies the dynamic temporality of this composition. The relationship between the traditional carpet, the eternal water and the high tech leisure craft is allegorical of the cultural hybridity of modern life, rendered almost surrealistic in this image. Beyond and within, this critical insight lies the sheer pleasure of what the artist describes as “new moments, Color contrast a diverse quality, and making the rugs float and dance in the water.”
Freedom may be a large idea with a long history .but the diverse photographic practices represented in Iranian photographynow reminds us that freedom can also be lost or gained in an acte gratuit if we don’t take a shot at liberty and beauty .we will never know what we have missed just like a photograph.
-Professor of English and American literature & language and director of the humanities center, Harvard University.

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