Arian’s Wraithportrait Fixes Gaze On Fifth Avenue

Arian Bagheri Pour Fallah at CADAF NYC 2022

We are pleased to announce that ‘Wraithportrait (Sein Porträt),’ a modular-medium artwork by Arian Bagheri Pour Fallah, known mononymously as Arian, will be on display at the 5th Edition of CADAF.

The ‘Wraithportrait,’ subtitled ‘Sein Porträt,’ is a recursive study of the auto-portrait pointing to Arian’s perpetual absence from the real world ever since the completion of his time as Artist in Residence at the Stiftung Künstlerdorf Schöppingen in July 2021 – whereby Arian’s whereabouts have remained unknown, even to his closest friends and colleagues, a testament to the blurring of the récit character and the artist’s life. It is an instance of what Arian calls ‘lived literature,’ with the character, the portrait, and the ‘self’ each reciprocating one another in an idiosyncratic expansion of performance art, breaking with the conventions of the practice as an ossified form, to herald a futuristic return to theatre.

Wraith, in Scottish mythology is what German folklore terms a doppelgänger, an apparitional twin whose appearance portends the death of one of the halves. Myths, in Arian’s writings on the récit, compose fundamentally anthropological questions, and are therefore not analyzed in a normative manner. The récit double, whose life is interwoven with that of Arian, through the performance, is he who appears in the portrait as the ‘Self.’

Following this, portending death no longer is treated as a narrative device but an ontological presupposition of the performance. Space and sprawl are considered reciprocal structures in Arian’s 2020 monograph, ‘From Living Currency to Moribund Space,’ which studies the emergence of a new form of capital, from the Nixon shock to the present day, of narrative economics, crypto, modern monetary theory (MMT), but also networks and the underlying spatial dynamics of the Information Age. The work synthesizes the Cartesian proposition, ‘Cogito, ergo sum’ with that of Heidegger, ‘sum moribundus,’ asserting portending death not as ‘someone gravely ill or wounded,’ but ‘insofar as I am, I am moribundus’—The ‘I’, suspended and split in the récit, however, refuses the latter’s formulation of Dasein, pointing instead to perpetual fragmentation and expanding sprawl starting from 1971.

Ever since Arian’s linking of acousmatics with the Pandora’s jar, classics have remained key components of modular media. In the Wraithportrait, Arian further takes the 1513 translation of Virgil’s Aeneid by Gavin Douglas, and his interchangeable introduction and use of the term ‘wraith’ for the living as well as the dead, as a dramaturgical device. The portrait is a work of art in the modular medium, therefore, not fixed to any given artform, and composed of modules including living subjects in addition to sensory pieces that conversely correspond to simulacra, in philosophy of information. Despite the tokenization of the work, and Arian’s early assertion that ‘All art from hereon is crypto art,’ through the refusal to list and/or market, but even more crucially the rejection of the linking of transience with an emerging technology, e.g., blockchain, the work emphasizes transience and temporal transgression as capacities unique to man,‘the most dangerous animal.’

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The exhibition will also feature works by Ashkan Zareie and Frank Stella. Read more about it in THE SITE Public Newsletter.

Happy Halloween. And remember, saints (hallows) are spirits not bits.