Interviews with Sogol Kashani by Inja gallery in her studio with focusing on life and artist career.
• I was born in 1979, and in 1995 I went to Atelier Haftad to draw and paint; a studio that belonged to Ms. Zandieh and Mr. Nami. Immediately after I enrolled to the art school and studied graphic design there, then graduated from the university in textile and clothing design.
Studying at the art school was a great opportunity for me and the beginning of my artistic life. Many things were taught there in that time, skills that allowed you to enter the art sphere and have enough general knowledge of the all the arts; photography, painting, sculpting, printmaking… . This general knowledge of different arts was seen in the students’ works, regardless of their quality. I can say the art school had the most important impact on my artistic life and showed me the way. The university never had such an effect. I began experiencing different methods after university. Drawing and painting were my permanent activities but I was photographing, participating in group exhibitions, in the early 2010s I curated some events and made a documentary movie . Alongside these drawing and painting continued to grow strongly, and I entered new artistic scenes. My first exhibition was held in 2016. Afterwards I began working on new projects.
• For me exploring a subject is a journey during which one of the subjects that I see or read about, or deal with in life, occupies my mind and becomes important to me, and I start working on that particular subject. My subjects are picked from very normal things around me, however generally, when I distance myself from my work, I realize that the most important thing to me is the “figure”. The works in my first exhibition had other concepts, but the figure was an essential component in their story. As I work, figures of animals and humans come to my mind. The figure is very important to me, and in the works of this exhibition, the figure is the main story. Even a tree is like a figure to me, if something seems like a stone, that stone resembles me. Representation of the stone itself is not the point realy , what matter is to me is finding figure, the body or human figure; the same thing which is always seen in my works.
• I wish to never stop over one subject and repeat it. After I explore a collection, research and study a subject and it seems like I have said everything about it, that subject ends for me. As a result, I engage in a new subject and have the urge to experience something else, something that interests me more. Something that I feel I can draw on paper or canvas. I want to create, I do not want to repeat or produce. It would be very upsetting if I cannot change the atmosphere of my work, if I constantly create the same space and repeat myself. In repetition, freedom is taken from me, and I cannot to do what I want and fail to expose myself and understand what is happening to me and explore what is there to come out of me. The whole charm of this emotional back and forth is that I can easily expose myself to these things, and a moments comes that these emotions must come out of me…. Perhaps it seems like a therapy through which eventually feelings pour out at some point. I was lucky to have a pen and paper to draw my feelings with. My three recent collections, “Land of Restless Flowers”, “The Body Is All”, and “What Ever Happened to Cypress?” are interconnected. Although they may be visually different, even the audience thinks these have something to do with each other. But their true story is that; after one of my collections was not shown for some reason, I entered a three-year period during which everything changed. The colors disappeared, all the works were gray, the bodies were all somewhat damaged, torn, punctured…. Other things happened at the same time.
• Whenever, I look at something, the details in the image get bold. I was engaged in Persian miniature at that time. I was looking, reading and… The “cypress” became bold for me. The cypresses are in every corner. They are often behind the mansions in Persian miniatures, but seem to be witness and watching. There are meanings in each of the elements in Persian miniature. It fascinated me that always cypresses were in the back and watching things.
After the collection “The Body Is All”, I focused on the cypresses immediately. Again, the same thing happened, my mood changed completely. I was exploring these cypresses, but again the same calamity befell the figures which were now represented by the cypresses. The cypresses had many wounds, many painful things had happened to them. And somehow these should have been drawn as I felt them. The drawn images may have a cold color and a pale and harsh atmosphere, unlike the Persian miniature, which is full of color, warmth and joy; but I had to do it anyway.
• I am very happy that these two collections “The Body Is All” and “What Ever Happened to Cypress?” are shown together. Both collections are the representation of my body, meaning my body, your body, the bodies of all us… things happen to us every day and we suffer just as much.
The cypress is a symbol of life and freedom in Iranian culture as in other cultures. In my opinion, it is also a symbol of life. The evergreen nature of the cypress makes it a unique tree.
When we are engaged with a subject, it combines with what is already in our subconscious and eventually it comes out through our mental filter. Sometimes, it is not conscious and what we have not thought about comes on paper. But for me what I paint has roots in my interests. When I like something, it is certainly recorded somewhere in my mind. A time will come when it will be drawn on paper. I think anyone who works in arts, goes through a similar process. That is so, for me.