Liberty of the Weaver (2010)

The Persian photographic rugs are composed of thousands of snapshots from my journey to Iran. Each carpet consists of 10.000 miniature photographs, which together form a pattern that on a distance resembles a Persian rug.

Carpet weaving is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to ancient Persia. To look at a Persian carpet is to gaze into a world of artistic magnificence nurtured for more then 2,500 years. The incredible wealth of motifs, designs and ornamentation in Persian rugs and carpets has led scholars to believe, that these are being invented by individual weavers. The individual liberty of the weaver has no lesser or greater scope than the liberty enjoyed by a poet or an artist.

Like words in a language, there are ’motif-words’ that remain unchanged or little changed for generations, while others become obsolete or lose their meaning, original worth and function. Like a language, the traditional weaver cannot change the meaning, spelling and phonetics of the words, but has the liberty of employing them at will, make new phrases. Like the liberty of the weaver who makes new phrases about their culture and country, my aim is to express my experience with Iran in all its complexity too.

With the Persian weaver tradition in mind, with all its motifs, symbols, patterns and traditional colorations, I have produced a series of photographic Persian carpets of my travel pictures: Pictures of the sprawling capital city Tehran, including the busy Revolution street and the remarkable gable paintings, the architecturally distinctive and high-tech library, the holy city of Qom, which is considered as the country's theological centre. Isfahan, the beautiful city with its magnificent heritage, Rasht a grey, modern town rarely visited by foreign tourists. It is pictures of undisturbed private moments, chaotic public places, tourist sceneries and propagandistic scenarios. Pictures of random meetings with local people and carefully planned appointments with high society Iranians.

The photographic Persian rugs are my individual story of Iran. A country that is much more than an Islamic theocracy and mullahs, terrorism, censorship, chador-clad women and bearded men demanding ‘Death to America’. Iran consists of a much broader scale of nuances and layers. It is much more interesting! More beautiful and more modern and progressive than the image the mass media primarily produces of Iran. Based on my both positive and negative travel impressions and experiences, where I was both confirmed and denied in my prejudices, I have weaved my personal photographic rug of a multifaceted and contrasting Iran, its history, people and culture.

The work consists of a series of photographic carpets that draws on the carpet traditions associated with the areas I have travelled through and visited in Iran.

The exhibition is supported by the Danish Arts Council.
The works Liberty of the Weaver - Nain and Liberty of the Weaver - Isfahan, are purchased by the Danish Arts Foundation.