How do we deal with memory as archive? Does memory belong only to the past? Born in Afghanistan, Dawood Hilmandi immigrated to the Netherlands when he was a teenager. Drawing on his past, he investigates the topics of displacement, depersonalization and memory. The Zero Space (31 March – 6 April) is a solo exhibition by Dawood Hilmandi including photography, videos and film essays. Hilmandi is a multimedia artist, film-maker, photographer and artistic researcher. He explores experimental and autobiographical approaches to cinema and cross-media art forms. Particularly focusing on the subjects of memory, trauma and depersonalization, he re-archives his extensive archival footage into a new body of work. Personal memories he treats as gathered material, which he incorporates and transposes into visual and filmic objects. From his personal perspective, he aims at deconstructing the narrative of the family, as a micro-cosmos of political and social behaviors. In this ‘zero space’ he returns to the concept of ‘origin’ and distances himself from his memories in order to reinterpret them. Alluding to what is hidden and what is forgotten, his works destabilize certain frameworks of meaning, especially the ones relating to binary oppositions of the victim and the evil, oppressor and oppressed. Hilmandi’s recent two-channel film A Journey in Zero Space (2016) juxtaposes documentary and observational shots with self-reflexive devices as voiceover and fragments of internalized emotions. The camera travels extensively through physical space, in Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, US and the Netherlands, while the maker shapes, through montage, the inner space of his memory. The result carries the viewer into a personal yet familiar space of reflection and encounter with a history that can belong to him as well.
About the artist
Dawood Hilmandi (1987) was born in Afghanistan and immigrated to the Netherlands as a teenager. In 2010, he graduated from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and in 2012, from The London Film Academy. His graduation film Bachesh about a Dutch soldier in Afghanistan struggling with his past and present was selected as one of the best student works in the Netherlands (Ron Mandos gallery). In his works, Hilmandi often tries to overstep the boundaries of his own cinematic language. His films premiered at international festivals, including Cannes Film Festival Shorts Corner (2087, Arvacska), International Film Festival Rotterdam (Bekhawy), Krakow Film Festival (Arvacska). Besides directing, Hilmandi’s working practice spans across film and new media from performing as an actor to creating video art, performance and photography. Recent collaborations as cinematographer, editor and actor include award winning films Angelus Novus (2015), De Waarneming (2016), Seven Stones (2014), Where is Kurdistan? (2016). Dawood Hilmandi lives and works in Amsterdam and is one of the participants in the Artistic Research Master’s Program at the Nederlands Film Academy in Amsterdam.
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Curated by: Dawood Hilmandi and Cristina Buta
The Zero Space is supported by the Amsterdamse Fonds voor de Kunst and Hilmandi Productions.
Credits: Still A Journey into Zero Space, 2016. courtesy of the artist