Exhibition: Mimicry – Empathy
September 28th – November 30th 2018
Lajevardi Foundation Tehran
Ground floor, Building No. 32, No. 20 Sepand St., Villa St., Karim Khan, Tehran, Iran
Artists: BLESS, Ulla von Brandenburg, Susanne Bürner, Berta Fischer, Sofia Hultén, Jochen Lempert, Alexandra Leykauf, Annette Kelm, Wiktor Gutt/Waldemar Raniszewski.
An exhibition project initiated by Susanne Bürner. The screening program includes films by Harun Farocki, Daria Martin, James Richards and more.
MIMICRY—EMPATHY is an exhibition on the dissolution of the self as a gesture a of empathy, with screenings, curated by Anne-Sophie Dinant and Amirali Ghasemi, at the the Lajevardi Foundation in Karim Khan, Tehran.
In biology, mimicry implies a mostly visual adaptation to a different life form, which could be beneficial in some situations and, ultimately, secure survival. Besides making someone less visible, mimicry can also be a way of becoming more attractive, to be seen and favored over others.
In any case, the recipient of mimicry will get a misleading signal and will be deluded. These mechanisms are not only practised by animals but play into various social phenomena. For teenagers, trying to blend into a prevailing society can be a way to test their affiliation to various groups and life schemes, and to ultimately develop their own identity, based on their experience.
In wartime, humans try to make themselves invisible for rather obvious reasons. During WWI, the French started to match the colors of a missile shaft with the colors of the battlefield and thus invented camouflage. From the beginning, they had their disruptive patterns designed by visual artists, often cubists as André Mare. Other countries followed their example.
In any case, the evolution of mimicry requires a certain amount of empathy to help understand the structure of the system one wants to be a part of. Thus, visual assimilation can only be created through engagement with the thinking and the strategies of the counterpart, sometimes even of the opponent. Spies are very much forced to understand the life of others, which can lead to their conversion. It is this exact empathy that blurs the boundaries between the imitator and the model and that allows for total identification.
The Mimicry—Empathy exhibition negotiates these emotionally uncontrollable aspects of adaptation and challenges the construction of cultural identities.
More information: www.lajevardifoundation.com