Aryan Arian


After starting to take nude photographs in 2004, Aryan noticed something has inadvertently made its way into most of the photos, which is solitude. Both the so-called modern and the religious societies have the same disparaging attitude towards the nude art and view it as a taboo in a moralistic light. Consequently, in confronting a piece of nude art, it’s the naked body per se that gets the most of attention and so it’s pretty hard to portray nudity as solely a formative component of an artwork. Therefore, in majority of his works, nudity has not been used for erotic ends. Needless to say, an eroticized reception of the art work very much depends on the spectator and the venue of presentation. after the first set of nude photographs his main concern was to develop his own signature and present photos whose atmosphere is his own creation. This personalized atmosphere came in form of pitch-dark spaces with lonely human figures placed at a corner and “Lonely in Darkness” series was based on that theme.

This dominantly dark space is probably a reflection of his country of origins, where gloom and sorrow is an inevitable and dominant aspect of people’s life. Within his work, this culture of sorrow finds a negative representation. The black spaces stand for a darkened lifestyle which he has always been critical of. Such presentation is a reflection of his beliefs. The lonely human figures in his work sometimes share their loneliness with their other selves who are shown in the mirrors. The mirror stands for their other selves with whom they sympathies. Often they even sympathies with statues and the living and inanimate elements of nature. In Doppelgänger these lonely figures experience loneliness even in the presence of another human.

Since nudity is a taboo, presenting it through an art form raises questions. on the other hand, he suggests to analyze the photos and their themes and contents instead. From his standpoint the nude art has a few interesting points. First of all nudity makes social judgements lose their weight. With nudity, the social class and position that people’s way of dressing confers upon them fade away. Of course the subject of the nude art still can be judged and perceived as pretty or ugly. This evaluation is nevertheless only a learned phenomenon and a construct of our minds and therefore far from truth. For that reason, he select his models from ordinary women around us, who by our learned value-system could be seen as ugly or pretty. But to him they are all equally beautiful. In other words, every one is beautiful regardless of their appearance or shape and sizes of their bodies. Besides, there’s a sense of liberation to nudity and by exploiting this aspect, notions such as violence, enchainment, insecurity, rebellion and loneliness can be better illustrated. “In some [of my] photos, the point is to bring attention to the body and its shape and beauty, or in other words elevating the body and its beauties. As we know the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) consider nudity a sin and prohibit it. This applies even more to women who are seen [by these religions] as the origin of sin. There are nude statues from pre-Islamic era in Iran-dating back to the era of Marlik civilization or even earlier-which shows that nude art was common in ancient Persia. After renaissance, more attention has been devoted to the body, which finds an exemplary expression in Michelangelo’s works. In some of my photos use of Iranian cultural symbols and painting traditions further foregrounds the body.” It is essential to know that the content and the form are inseparably entangled. Sometimes the form is determined by the subject matter and in other situations you already have the form in mind and pick a matching subject matter.

In “Islamic Turban” series, a turban turns into a tool for [committing] violence. The formation of this series, its atmosphere and style and selection of its subjects took a good two years. The most famous photo in this series is the one called Stoning which shows the bloody and crumpled body of a woman pelted with stones launching from a turban.

The next series of his work was titled “Victim of Verses”. For this series, he researched for months and selected the verses from Quran which advocates violence and discrimination against women. These verses are shown written on a fabric and extend over a [feminine] body which is veritably enchained by a them.

In “Legend” series he was studying traditional Persian paintings for some years and had this idea in mind that one day “I should take photos with minimized perspective, which instead present some elements of Persian paintings such as Tazhib (Gilding) and Iranian symbols.” After several years of consideration and
experience, he alighted upon the idea of using Persian rug as the background and taking photos from an overhead angle.

“Doppelgänger” is a series in process and in most of its photos he is physically present. His intention in this series here is to capture the physical and emotional relation between two people in various forms and embodiments.

A window to Darkness deals with violence and sex and indifference about what’s happening around and our reaction, by using a dark space and localized lighting.

“Silence”  was the idea to achieve some sort of minimalism and he was inspire of the Japanese poetry Haiku and also Omar Khayyam. Still he has his own signature in this series and colors and composition comes from his interest in painting, his own poetry and also his dreams. “It’s the first time I use the white solid color as a background and there are a few elements of nature in an empty space which dominates the other objects.”

Many people ask me about the importance of criticizing religion. I see Abrahamic religions and Islam in particular as calamities which have gripped the human and still have him in their control. I don’t want to get into a philosophical discussion, but there are some evident facts in our daily lives which are ignored by many people around me. This ignorance forces me to rebel and show in my own language this ignorance of violence. The biggest problem with the religion is that by accepting its principles you are forfeited of your right to question things.

Everything must be taken in faith and just as in the military there’s no such a right to question orders. Therefore, if you are a faithful follower of a religion, you can commit any act of violence and then justify it as doing the correct thing according to teachings of your religion. And then when someone ventures to criticize the religion, they are asked to respect the religion. But what has to be respected? Homicide or organized violence? A faith that propagates violence and murder merits no respect. Every inhuman ideology must be subject to criticism. Yet religious thugs have terrorized societies to the point that no one dares to be critical of religion. But the fear is the biggest enemy of any artist. I’m not arguing that every artist has to be a political activist. All I’m saying is that artists must not be insensitive to inhuman affairs happening around them.

White color is released from my hand
Red is spinning in my head
Black takes me away

Love flaps its wings in the air
I cannot catch it

A sheep cries
Upon his mother’s blood
As it traces death’s dance on the ground
The sorrows in the chest
The smiles in the picture frames
What a riot it is…
This resurrection of solitude

Love flaps its wings in the air
I cannot catch it

I was born in Kerman, Iran to a religious and working-class family. At the age of seven my dad, who was a driver for Kerman foundry, lost his life in accident. I abjured religion at the age of seventeen and at the same time I took an interest in writing and photography and cinema and I was constantly writing short and long stories and poems to overcome my solitude; it was also due to my profound interest in art.

After graduation from high school, I was admitted into the film program of Cinema and Theater faculty and moved to Tehran and received my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in directing films from the said institute.

Follow Aryan on Instagram @arianmtl or find out more on her official website.