Around the Babylon Tower

  • Around the Babylon Tower

Perhaps searching for differences in Najmeh Pashaei’s works and replicas is our first way to get a description or to get a definition of her artworks displayed in Homa. In fact, on the one hand, the complete resemblance of her artworks to architectural models makes us compelled to get to know her artworks more. On the other hand, the search for distinction among these structures and replicas, simultaneously leads us to the comprehension of existential causes of these structures. In other words, it is the artists playing with the concept and nature of replica that gives sense to these structures. Because both the name of the exhibition (the Babylon tower) or the brochure make us to refer to the heart of the mythological history that is in accordance to the artist’s writing in the brochure. But, it also has a personal reference that helps both the artists and we as the spectators; by re-joining the artists’ inner-self to these structures and by encouraging us to accompany this relationship.
Considering the artists’ early sketches that some of them are mounted on the walls, you will see the indicated initial problem (the resemblance between these structures and the first sketches) puts the burden on the shoulder of replicas. Therefore, what we see is actually the replicas of the sketches mounted on the walls. There is only one problem, that is some sketches have not been able to replicated because of some technical and practical difficulties. Then, we are actually looking at the “possible” replicas; this means that the models were implemented when the imagination could turn into reality. Thus, this allows us to differentiate between the sketches mounted on the walls and the structures located on the platforms; the display of difference between abstract and concrete concepts or the imagination and the reality. In other words, each model or replica (structure) is actually a display of sketch that was possible to execute in the form of a structure. The rest of the sketches remained untouched as like an imagination that couldn’t be implemented in the form of a structure. In a more metaphorical way, the difference between sketches and structures is the difference between the imagination and the reality.
This key can actually be a way to help us answer the initial questions which means that by using it we can find the differences between the structures and the replicas. Each replica in its own sense is a structure that is only one step away from the final execution. By constructing a structure, each architect not only displays the appearance and schematic layout of her design, but also shows the structure’s execution and practicality to the audience. The structures of Najmeh Pashaei however are mocking the concept of architecture because almost none of her structure could turn into a real size building. Even though her structures are more feasible and practical than her sketches, considering a real building, all her structure could maintain only on that size and height and not more. Therefore, each replica or structure is a concrete form of an abstract idea. At the very beginning of designing a building, each and every architect should consider the real size of the building and its feasibility as well; however, it seems that Pashaei has never thought of real size buildings. What should we call these structures then?

    The free will of the artist without any hesitation for dos and don’ts of a replica which can turn into a real building makes all these structures full of holes, empty spaces, etc., and there is no consideration for the balancing rules (in two of the replicas, only one stairway tolerated the total weight of the structure). The artist said somewhere in her notes that: “these structures are kind of parts of my memories. The complexity in my memories didn’t let me to make them simpler or understandable form. These towers came into my life during and after one or two major crises”. Even this saying shows the impossibility of these structures. In fact the artist tries to encourage us to see these structures as how she feels by connecting them to her memories and crises; in a way that all these structures try to be at least “possible”. This level of passing the crises to stability is a trend in order to make each sketch to a structure which is actually the final goal.
    Pashaei even tries to go a step further, in order to broaden her horizon, she hangs to the metaphor. She tries to make her dreams and sketches into structures and even make them fit for urbanization in contemporary Tehran. To achieve this metaphorical expression, the artist has used two different tools and techniques; the shape of the structures on the one hand and the naming of the exhibition and referring to the Babylon tower on the other. While in the first approach, referring to the mythological history is emphasized through naming and in the first paragraph exhibition brochure, the reference to the urbanization is only emphasized and stated in few lines of the artist’s exhibition brochure. You can find lesser similarities between the external form of these structures and the contemporary Tehran’s buildings. In fact, while designing and constructing these structures is partly inspired by the current towers; metaphorical elements, mythological history, porosity, negative spaces, and equilibrium are the ones that catches the spectators’ attention.
    What appears to be more eye catching is the references to the former shapes of the towers, and not the contemporary, modern ones. Indeed, we are better to consider the artist’s statements about the relations between these structures and her mental states in her private life as the basis of these structures. In that case we can understand all those mythological references way easier because they reflect the complexity of situation and men’s effort. Accordingly, Pashaei’s effort to remind us of Babylon tower and Noah’s ship are both referring to a single condition. The condition shows the necessity of emancipation in these difficult, complicated situations by constructing tall buildings like the Babylon tower. Therefore, what should we call Pashaei’s structures? The kind of structures that remind us of bitter facts. They are a way to hangs on imagination for emancipation. Pashaei’s exhibition reminds of how much this situation has been repeated and remains always fruitless. We construct towers to have some freedom but at the end only they will remain and their fears and crises not us!    














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