x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Wild and wonderful pieces from Iranian collector Ramin Salsali

Photographs and video pieces from the Iranian collector Ramin Salsali, on display at the Salsali Private Museum, include a colourful merger of the Arab and African worlds.

A selection of photography and video pieces from the sizeable art hoard of the Iranian collector Ramin Salsali continues until the end of July at the Salsali Private Museum.

Life is Too Short refers to the immediate, shutter-click pace of the media showcased here. It also works as a whistle-stop tour of the last few years in Dubai's art scene, with a number of the works having passed through the city's galleries. Several unusual additions, however, keep things interesting.

Hassan Hajjaj's Helen the Venus Bushfire, from 2011, caught our eye - fizzing off the walls with patterns and colours that clash together like battling horns. Against one of Hajjaj's scatty backgrounds, a woman sits playing a Hang drum wearing wild sunglasses and shot in a style redolent of work by Samuel Fosso. The piece captures that textural meeting-point where the Arab world hits Africa - a cultural divergence that continues to fascinate this Moroccan artist.

Also worth looking out for is a video piece by Anahita Razmi, How Your Veil Can Help You in the Case of an Earthquake, Lesson 1-8. This wry work from 2004 still inspires a chuckle. "Just cover your head, using your veil as a helmet," says Razmi's weirdly deep voice-over, a rock bouncing off the smiling face of the artist who is wearing her black chador like a hard-hat-turban.

The figure of Mohammad Mossadegh - the democratically elected prime minister of Iran who was deposed in a US-backed coup in 1953 - appears several times in Life is Too Short. There's a brown bust of him, and an odd painting showing him touring the canals of Venice by speedboat. A mock cinema built to house the work of Nazzy Beglari discusses Mossadegh's history directly. The work is an animation projected on to a painted canvas in which we see Alice's White Rabbit discussing Mossadegh in exile. The piece is a tribute to Farideh Lashai, an artist whose recent work of animation-on-canvas has explored the connection between the surreal Wonderland and contemporary Iran.


Life is Too Short continues at Salsali Private Museum, Alserkal Avenue, Dubai until July 31. www.salsalipm.com. Entrance is free