MOHSEN YAZDIPOUR
MOHSEN YAZDIPOUR

Hey! Soldier! It matters not who you are and if you hold a high school diploma, an undergrad or post-grad degree, or if you are an army physician. Whatever you are, here you are a soldier, that’s all!With the publication of Mehran Mohajer’s proper Persian translation of Allan Sekula’s The Body and the Archive, the viewer’s first reaction to Mohsen Yazdipoor’s recent works is to read them in this framework. Yet, Yazdipoor expresses his lived experience in his photographs with such power and irony that it interests me more to focus on this very process. When he enters university he feels that instead of being treated respectfully he is treated like a convict thus he portrays his classmates in Me Without a Number as convicts who lack a number: a row of students resembling personal photographs, one from front angel, the other from the sides. When identity turns into an obsession for him, he portrays it in This Is I by placing himself in different urban situations. When he starts his military services, they deny his identity completely and bluntly. They even address him by saying, ‘Hey!’ They are all soldiers, that’s all! Life turns into the repetition of meaningless monotonous actions. The most exciting moment is receiving stamps on paper. Success is to have your paper stamped, and the grandest stamp of all is that of discharge.Similar to his previous series, Yazdipoor makes grids for this series of works and puts a soldier’s personal photograph in each cell. The backgrounds are all red, clothing uniform, heads shaved, distances all the same, all photographs from the front angel, without any diversion, all looking at the camera: everybody looks like what they should in a personal photograph. These are real personal photographs. Yazdipoor attempts re-photography and using found photography.The ID cards and birth dates are all written in personal handwriting. They are all original. The writings on the back of photographs are the handwriting of the subjects of photographs.Given and family name, name of father, ID card number and birth dates are all written by people themselves. They are all original, all are real. But does it matter? Not at all. They are simply soldiers and differ not from thousands of other soldiers. In the next work, Yazdipoor replaces soldiers’ heads. Nothing changes. In the next frame, he changes the eyes, noses and mouths one by one. Nothing happens again. What is important is the red background, the uniform, the ranking, distance and format which are fixed.        "Hamid Severi"