Influenced by early avant-
International ongoing exhibitions
Pour Hosseini’s technique invokes the play of light in nature and its insistent elemental forces of water, fire and air, which have inspired the interior world and psyche throughout human history and spirituality. The solar cycle and reflections on water’s surface are recurring motifs, as well as light phenomena that occur when recording with analogue cameras, such as refraction and lens flare. Her new film installation The Magic Circle takes the crepuscular hours of dusk as its setting, allowing the dissolution of light to reveal the enchanting or ominous possibilities of nighttime. The film’s saturated and dreamlike palette, Olesya Zdorovetska’s unnerving layered vocal score, and Pour Hosseini’s installation of hanging chiffon fabric are lures into a mesmeric landscape, a dreamlike blurring of unconscious experience.
The Magic Circle portrays a foreboding character wearing veiled garments and a ceremonial headdress, enacting rituals associated with conjuring and magic. The sorceress, played by Yasaman Pishvaei, traces circles in the sand in front of a rolling seascape, and paces around a darkened interior illuminated by candlelight. These meditative actions appear to recreate purifying or protective spells. Pour Hosseini’s mastery of lighting, superimposition and the chemical alchemy of traditional film processing animate the spectral out-
The prevalence of witchcraft, its punishment and expulsion, align with the growth of misogynistic ideologies over many centuries. Prior to this time, priestesses, mediums, herbalists, healers, midwives, and other roles persecuted through the myth of witchcraft, were community members connected to nature and seasonal practices. Pour Hosseini’s The Magic Circle takes as its primary influence the 1886 painting of the same name by Pre-
Pour Hosseini challenges and repurposes this symbolism and suppressed power through her ‘radical capacity for conjuring a shadow vision of the world from a place of exile’. The final scenes of The Magic Circle show the sorceress tempering flames and observing the endless tidal movement of the sea from the shoreline within a circle of fire. Fire is the most ancient of magics and, along with art-
Exhibition 20 October 2023 -
© ArtCatalyse International / Marika Prévosto 2023. All Rights Reserved
Atoosa Pour Hosseini, The Magic Circle (still), 2023. 16mm, 9 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.