Under the Shower

2013

Under the shower is a video installation with three elements: a fabric (Long), a video projection and audio. The fabric is hanging from a gallery’s ceiling space. The video is projected through the fabric and the audio of the shower is playing. First, audiences see the fabric, then they hear the sound of water and at last see the female body. The body is not so obvious because of the fabric’s pattern, highlighting its importance over the body. I have created a contrast by projecting the female body on the masculine fabric. 

The Long is a traditional Iranian red fabric with a plaid pattern. In Iran, men have long used it to cover themselves in public baths, hiding their bodies from the waist to the knees. Because traditional public baths no longer exist, the Long has now become nothing more than a mere rag, used to cover windows or by street children to clean windshields. 

The reason I use the Long in my work is that, at one point, it was a metaphor for the transition from a traditional to a modern Iran. The fabric has lost its old function and become something new. It was used to cover the body but has now become something akin to a handkerchief. The pattern itself is visually appealing, as it overlaps and makes colors darker. The transparency of the Long varies with the plaid pattern. 

 

I had two goals by making this video installation: returning to tradition with a new look – returning to the original function of the Long, but associating it instead with a female body rather than a masculine one.


This series plays on the concept of a home as both a protective shelter, but also a barrier that isolates its inhabitants by censoring what’s inside. Windows break that barrier, allowing us to look outside while letting the light in. Curtains create a compromise where we receive light while still hiding within. By opening the curtains, we lift the censorship over our bodies, exposing ourselves to the world. In the paintings comprising The Window collection, the frame is the window and the canvas is the curtain. The light emanating from within the painting is the metaphorical opening of the curtains. The nude figures inside, however, do not feel shame in their exposure to the world: they sit comfortably, unafraid of the outside gaze. Through this exposure, Madandar explores the notion that censoring of our bodies, be it with walls, clothes or veils, is what creates the shame we live with. The exposure of the nude self through the intentional opening of the curtains by light shatters the censorship of shame – replacing it instead with a confident self that, unencumbered by societal judgement, engages the outside world.