||A tractor in parking
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear his name, Amirali Ghasemi, is the definition of the word "crowded". Those who know him personally will understand what I'm referring to. He's very active and every month you would be able to see his name appearing in various exhibitions—whether it's for a show on a smaller scale or for one on an international level, he is either an organizer or a contributing artist. He is concerned with the contemporary and pays less attention to the past.
His appearance, from what I recall, is being on foot, hunched under the weight of many bags and backpacks he would carry, with all sorts of gadgets and cameras hanging from his neck. Countless times, I would hear about the newest software, the most anticipated technologies and cutting edge websites from him.
In early 2000, we attended private graphic design courses together, on a weekly basis, with members of our graphic design group Chargoush. We would all wait in anticipation to see the new items he would bring—anything from books to catalogues to CD compilations and even contact sheets of his photographs. At times, the table or even the entire studio would be covered by this material; causing enough chaos to interfere with the entire meeting.
His studio/gallery is located in a basement, in the parking area of a building; that's why he calls it, Parkingallery. Overflowing with all of those odds and ends in various sizes which Amirali collects, the space is filled with nostalgic objects from the technology era.
He is in and out of almost every field of art; sometimes it even appears that he is changing lanes too often, never focusing on one practice. In addition to his graphic design career he has been creating drawings, paintings, photographs, illustrations and web-based art, as well as video, installations and digital/interactive works. He writes too; articles, short stories and statements, and he actually types them. But I bet almost nobody knows that he used to write poems too—in notebooks, on scarp pieces of paper, with a pen.
Despite the fact that he graduated from the field of graphic design, he has in recent years not considered himself a designer. These days he is mostly curating shows and coming up with new media art. He often as a client invites other designers to collaborate in his art projects, and as he is familiar with the issues and details of this profession, Amirali gives liberty to his fellow designers to create what they have in mind. He deals with them professionally and tries to minimize any interference with the process of their designs.
Amirali has been constantly traveling in the past five years: he has been invited to different countries for talks and panels, or often to curate exhibitions. He is in contact with many artists, following their practices closely, regardless of their age or professional experience. He longs for controversial projects. In 2004, when he wasn't occupied with traveling, he had a vast project in mind, which he initiated independently—an exhibition about depression. Titled Deep Depression, the exhibition was continued in the following years with Deeper Depression and an ongoing public art project Being happy for no reason. The project had a massive open call with international participants, and was held simultaneously in a number of galleries in Tehran, with sections dedicated to photography, painting, literature, typography and video.
Amirali makes exhibitions of seemingly unimportant everyday objects, creating a kind of absurd atmosphere: sometimes he gets fascinated by clothes hangers, and other times coffee cups are his source of inspiration. He uses these simple and banal objects for illustrations as well.
In many of his posters such as, "Group video installation", which won various international awards, he used technical drawings taken from the instruction manuals of different devices, such as a TV remote, a VHS tape and an Atari Joystick. By incorporating such visuals he both refers to the subject he's trying to address while triggering a nostalgic feeling in the viewer.
In Amirali's layouts and compositions, one can't often track any regulations or boundaries. He usually doesn't make use of neat or clean images, and because of this, there is a sense of archness and playfulness that stand out in his exciting body of work. The types and images are rebelliously orchestrated and rarely aligned with each other or even with the frame. Amirali adopts a different approach towards typography, which lasts only for a period of time. At times he can be obsessed with chaotic and tangled typographic treatments, and create the title of a poster by uneven edges of letters. At other times he'll use a simple font in many posters, placed in a row.
He has a number of ailments too; Asthma for one (as long as he's been able to remember) forces him to constantly carry a few Ventolin aerosol sprays, that he then used in designing his website. He also doesn't hesitate to use all of his medication and medical records in an art exhibition: documents, various X-ray films, palatine plaques from his accident, medications that were prescribed to him since his childhood were displayed to the public in an archival installation.
He enjoys a great self-confidence to show the content of his computer's hard disk—which is perhaps un-organized and messy. And from a mass amount of files and every thing he has created or collected, he's made an exhibition called Hard Disk.
In his ongoing multimedia work, Tehran Remixed and Coffee Shop Ladies, Amirali focuses on photographs which he took from young folks gathering in cafes or partying in houses. He's captured their voices having clear or unintelligible conversations while their faces and bodies are blanked out in white layers; as if they are cut from the pictures, with the cloths are hung around nothing in space.
These stunning characteristics create a cynical paradox within their surroundings. In other words, Amirali is an artist who has a deconstructive and an irregular approach that might stick out provocatively at first glance; in a way that the boundaries between an art piece and an innovative experiment are often unclear for viewers. But overall he has a bright mind and he courageously executes his projects. You can notice this when he adds his public relations skills with his ability to gather people from various disciplines and collaborate with them to re-think their surroundings and sum the efforts into a collective project. At the age of 30, the list of his achievements and projects are long enough not to fit in a one publication. My opinion is that his workaholic personality is both rare and invaluable.