2023.5.26 - 6.17

Fx (a) : Fy (b) ≈ Fx (b) : Fa-1 (y)
The algebraic formula called the canonical formula of myth is used to describe the transformational process of a mythical tale in space or time, while also defining the stability of the tale. It was first mentioned by the anthropologist and ethnologist Claude Lévi-Strauss.

Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Structural Study of Myth, 1955
Title inspired by Bernard Comment text for Sepand Danesh monography

The portrait represents a kind-eyed old man, seeming to know something that we can’t know. Other paintings show a clown, two musicians, a dancer, a witch, a monkey, and a painter. All those characters have seemingly nothing in common besides their placement in a corner without ceiling or floor, on shelves slightly below the horizon line and composed of one identical fragment – a cube or a ‘voxel’ (a pixel in volume). These characters also belong to the same process of structural transformation of the tale that inhabits them. For example, the clown, inspired by Edward Hopper’s work <Blue Night>, shows a man dressed as a clown who does not clown around. He still wears the mood, the make-up and the traces of his character but is already in a moment of transformation, of transition, from one part of his identity to the other. 

Sepand Danesh is a French-Iranian artist born in Tehran in 1984. He left Iran for good at the age of 12. Years of war and repression in Iran, followed by immigration and exile, push him to the edges of society. From there, he grows interested in the evolution and transformation of humans from one society to the other, from one moment or space to the next. First, he creates a grid that allows him to fragment information that he will later group in paintings always depicting a corner. He defines the corner as a ground zero for transformation. In the corner, the physical body is at a full stop and can’t evolve further. Therefore, it is ought to shift into the imagination and fantasy of the mind, defined by the artist as a mental body. This desire for an escape from a body, a prison, a language, a job or a relationship is precisely what the artist considers to be the initial impulse of a transformation.