Speak, Memory: Sara Rajaei

12 December 2010 thru 20 February 2011
Location: Hogewal 1-9, The Hague
Back to overview page Speak, Memory: click here

Personal stories, distorted memories, lost moments and old traditions, traces of buildings: these are the elements that connect the diverse works in this exhibition. Below we focus on the work of Sara Rajaei.

Sara Rajaei (1976) was born in Iran and lives and works in The Hague. Her films are based on stories from her own life or things that she (coincidentally) overheard. She retells these stories and personal histories never literally; there's always a dream-like element in the work that confuses the viewer and allows for multiple interpretations of the story.

Time, and how time changes stories and memories, is visualized by Rajaei. She does this, for example, by putting different ages of the same character in one and the same room. Sometimes her videos are vertiginous because voices, figures, different sides to the same story, spin around each other. The colours and images in the works are often warm and homey, but this cosiness is deceptive, the stories told are mostly about loss and bereavement.

Speak, Memory presents two of her videos. In SHAHRZAD (2009), we see the famous Iranian poet Shahrzad who, unable by her own doing to leave her house, lives in the past and her memories. In A LEAP YEAR THAT STARTED ON A FRIDAY (2010) Rajaei retells her memories of an attack she witnessed as a young child. Her memory of the event is abstracted in text-based images and a few visual images that try to grasp her haunting nightmares after the attack.

The border between real and unreal, how imagination combines with reality and moments of Déjà vu and memoirs make my films. I have a sort of obsession with the past and Shahrzad lives in a nostalgic world. Her only connection to the everyday life and to future is her poetry.
[Sara Rajaei on SHAHRZAD in Tubelight, July 2008].