Historical Interaction and Contrast Between the Psyche and the Society

Art is a social matter and artworks are social products that affect the society and are also affected by it. Art and society have a reciprocal relationship. All artworks and literature are finally going to be released to audiences someday, and this is a general rule in the realm of art. A piece of music or a beautiful painting, a worth reading novel or a pleasant poem, a conceptual statue or a strong theater, and all will lose their inherent features  if not offered to the general or specific audiences.  Art always tries to express  both obvious and obscure layers of social relations, human dignity, concerns and human suffering, feelings and desires. Hence, the art has the phenomenological method. It means that the art penetrates the depth of what people see in the appearance of objects in natural and social phenomena, and pushes away the veils of the surface and manifests the invisible structures of the phenomena. Art does this through symbols. Because the symbols have the ability to be used on behalf of the structural elements and express the relationships among the structural phenomena. The paintings of “Rahim Mowlaeian” are placed in this category. His artworks represent the depth of social interactions, traditions, culture of the time, and the most hidden layers of ideological structures of the society. These works reflect the totality of thoughts and its expression in the social interactions by design and colors and highlight people’s historical traditions very well. Mowlaeian contributes that level of the society which is not understood superficially. This level of society that is understandable by a very careful phenomenological approach, is a level in which the ideas, behaviors, customs, rituals, language, personality, social relations, cultural identity, values​​, beliefs and definitions of living are formed, and then demonstrates itself objectively in the level of  social realities. What the mankind apparently do in everyday life which seems normal to them and they do not even think about, is connected to its roots of identity in Mowlaeian’s paintings. These roots of identity are Mowlaeian’s painting main themes. Most of  “Rahim Mowlaeian”‘s artworks  have 5 common symbols representing the ideology and the structure of public awareness of humans:
۱٫ People often put one hand on their one eye or one side of their face2. Faces are double sided, one sees this side and the other sees the other side.3. Shadows and “shadow-like people” are frequently seen in his works.4. “Man – animal” beings composed of animal bodies and human heads.5. Pomegranates.

“De Chirico” the founder of metaphysical painting wrote: “Every object has two aspects. One aspect that is generally seen by everybody, and a ghost-like and metaphysical aspect that only a few people are able to see just in the moments of insight and metaphysical moments. An artwork should describe something more than its appearance. Mowlaeian’s paintings use these five mentioned symbols, act as non written books expressing abundant words. These artworks want to say something, but express it in the form of pictures and symbols without using a speaking language.
 rahim mowlaian2
The main character of Mowlaeian’s paintings is the peoples’ deepest tendencies which exist in the labyrinth of community. Tendencies such as love is the most common plot of his works.  So that, pomegranate as a symbol of love, coquetry, birth and marriage, is glaring  in most of his paintings. These tendencies, in their movement process, meet in the predetermined pathways to society and culture. Rather, mankind is a cultural being and opens cultural ways to his own inner tendencies. These cultural ways control inner tendencies and human mind in the form of traditions, customs, norms and social conventions. One of the most important paintings of Mowlaeian that expresses this theme is the one in which the image of a man and a woman with closed eyes has been drawn in a square frame. In the mentioned image everything was drawn in a ninety-degree angles,  composed of tiles placed next to each other in the form of an image. In this painting, Mowlaeian shows the status of men and women in the society influenced by the beliefs and custom of the community taken place within a specified area, having completely separate privacy. A brick wall (boundary) is located between them. A wall in the form of the traditional brick walls of Mowlaeian’s city. Formed and dried bodies of the man and the woman (especially the  woman’s) placed within the frame of tiles are displayed in ninety-degree angles. The masks that are found in both of the man’s and the woman’s part represent the masculine and feminine parts of every human psyche. Their eyes are closed. The man’s female mask is the fire, it shows the fire of love that links both sexes together through the ages. The woman’s clothes are red and the man’s are blue, two contrasting but complementary colors in  the symbolism of colors. Ancient inscriptions in the man’s part show  the archaeological and historical nature of this situation. The painting can be named as “The history of Iranian men and women”. The painting shows the history, traditions, beliefs and long periods behind the Iranian men and women. It exists in Iran about seven thousand years, since the start of Mithraism. Inscriptions on the image represent the Sun (of Mithra religion) that confirms the validity of this statement.
Generally, it can be said that Mowlaeian’s paintings show the historical interaction and contrast between the “psyche” and the “society”. “Psyche” as an undeniable background of human tendencies and “society” as a cultural context. That is why shadows are active participants behind the human images in Mowlaeian’s paintings. According to “Carl Jung” shadows represent the characteristics and features of the unknown or less known “me” that constitutes one part of the self psychology. That is why humans are drawn ambiguous, two-sided, and mystical in Mowlaeian’s paintings, and put their hands on one half of their faces. They are those people who do feel the deepest part of the psyche while living in the society, and have to establish positive interactions between them.
By Ehsan Shariat