MARYAM “MIMI” AMINI, Self-studies
Ever since her childhood, Mimi Amini enjoyed painting the objects around her and cutting their shape out of the paper, and then creating almost three-dimensional small-scale architectural models.
As a teenager she preferred to skip school and spending her day around the garden next to Isfahan’s Art High School, located in a fascinating area, close to Zayandeh-Rood river and the archeological museum, looking at the art students sitting around with their drawing boards, working, drawing and painting.
“The passion to find a proper representation of myself and finding a place where I belonged to have captivated my imagination all through these years, and I think my choice of geography and location follow the same passion.” she says.
Mimi, in this beautiful old house where you live and work in the north of Tehran every little corner breathes your creative energy, everywhere and everything is art.
Looking back at my childhood, I realize that we were trained by our parents to be ‘the best’ and as ‘successful’ ones who would ‘acquire’ things, and that was perhaps the initial steps into our fall. Yet, the wave-like periods of my life were always defined by the weight of ‘losing’ things and learning to lift up and fly.
The passion to find a proper representation of myself and finding a place where I belonged to have captivated my imagination all through these years.
This is the reason why I have stayed in my current studio in the northern part of Tehran, within walking distance of the mountain slopes. It is closely related to the same sense.
The sense of balance between nature, space, body and mind… How much does your artistic practice nourish this constant spiritual search for harmony?
My attitude and approach towards materiality in my pieces, have been derivative of how I looked at the world. I have been in pursuit of a ‘designed’ lifestyle, one that gradually emerges by moving consistently, to generate meaningful improvements in my life, and to reach outputs that would be in harmony with my life.
And always solitary in this quest of harmony?
I am a painter. In my artistic practice, since the very beginning, I have been focusing on understanding myself and self-portraiture, and of course, self-study.
Layer after layer, and time after time, ‘making’ myself has become the subject of my work.
My paintings moved forward without prior drafts and sketches, each creating their own independent world, and leading to an evolutionary chain.
In this evolutionary chain, what will be your next creative exploration?
In recent years, both my mind and life went through several changes and so I needed a new structure, often leading to fresher approaches for the development of appearance and meaning in my paintings. That was how I became more interested in making them three-dimensional and more dependent on the space —with the space working as a kind of medium of delivery.
So, yes, I’d like to practice seeing in 360-degrees and transforming two dimensions to three and vice versa.
My dream is to work on a film project, like a cinematic experience playing in an atmospheric, a kind of a “nontime bound” dimension.
How does this “nontime bound” instant look like?
Pause, and… (a smile), when she reached her chosen shelter, she was relieved, hid her new beak into her wings… moves her feathers… turned around… rid herself of her old feathers… aligned her feet, looked around and sat down… her eyes fixated on a point and turned into a gaze. She gazes!
This interview has been recorded during lockdown in Iran in February 2021.
Photos : Selfportraits by Mimi Amini at her studio in Tehran
Text: Ashkan Zahraei / Anahita Vessier
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