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Studio Visit with TIRDAD HASHEMI and SOUFIA ERFANIAN

All images: © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi, Soufia Erfanian and @gbagency_paris

Written and curated by Varia Serova


Tirdad Hashemi in her studio in Berlin © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi



“Painting, in my working process, always starts from a story and continues like a dream. Everything is always possible in sleep. ” – Tirdad Hashemi


Tirdad Hashemi was born in 1991 in Teheran, Iran. She lives and works between Paris, Teheran and Berlin. Hashemi's drawings and paintings chronicle the presence of the intimate, familial, societal and political circumstances on her psyche. Her candid autobiographical renditions dynamically interlace fantasy and reality while using her immediate surroundings as a setting, with the artist in her own way creating work that is evocative, sensual and driven by the impulse to evoke the sheer energy of a situation.

In Hashemi's dynamic and expressive artworks, both on paper and on canvas, often in small formats and depending on the means at hand, characters are caught in the ups and downs of their emotions, swept away by daily situations and encounters, from love and friendship to loss and agitation. In the tenuous interiors she creates, unspeakable desires are born, overflow, and mingle; the scenes depicted by the artist become an enactment of their struggles against intolerance. Whether in Paris, Berlin, Istanbul or Tehran, these characters are determined to free themselves from imposed societal, cultural or religious rules; and build their identities on life encounters and prohibitions. Instability and chaos fuel their language, their energy, that of a generation made up of contradictions, anarchic notions, continuous self searching and a thirst for self expression, all brewed in a space where violence and tenderness intermingle. In Tirdad's own words, the artist may not be “an activist that dwells in the streets, but an activist with the lifestyle [she has] chosen”. Hashemi will never feel free from her home country, Iran, but somehow, she will remain a foreigner, a stranger wherever she goes. Art is her only necessity, her true home, the only place she can express herself fully.



Collaboration between Tirdad and Soufia Erfanian © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian



A group of Dancers giving up on everything, 2015, acrylic on canvas. Photo: Aurélien Mole @gbagency_paris © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi



Are you a fake rabbit You can’t live here [collaboration between Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian], 2021, mixed media, 70 x 90 cm © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian



"At 9:23 in the morning, I am awaken by the door bell and with a heartthrob.

After hearing the voice of a man who claims to be from the recycle office, I press the button that opens the door and head to the toilet. After one time throwing up from the excess anxiety, I can imagine you and how if you were here you would stare at me in amazement with those round eyes of yours. After that damned day, at 7 am, when I had somehow smelt the disaster I woke up from a ringing sound echoing in my ear and they told the news of your death to my mum on the phone. Mum was not crying. She couldn’t believe it. I was scared she would have a stroke, and months after that incident i would go to mum at nights to make sure she is alive. I don’t know how long has passed since, I don’t even want to know. My room’s phone was disconnected all these years. I put my phone somewhere in the room that’s out of service. My house in north of Iran didn’t even have a door bell. I don’t know what to do about the door bell in Tehran."

Icarius, 2017, mixed media, Photo: Aurélien Mole @gbagency_paris

© Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi




The dance wounds wrapped around my waist, 2021, mixed media on canvas, 70 x 50 cm

© Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi




"All the feelings that I have and want to give to the whole world and you and all the people I deeply love and how I see myself as a deeply kind and loving person; but the process of melting this ice can simply show the truth in how I fail in this “giving” and I have waited for this ice shaped heart to melt in the middle of our breakfast table. This ice heart has cried for all the days I didn’t and I am thankful."


I bought 36 bottles of Lemonaid for you to decorate our room [collaboration between Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian], 2021, mixed media © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi and Soufia Erfanian



Sweetheart, Your hair grows the crops of the loneliness plant, 2021, mixed media on canvas, 70 x 50 cm © Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi


Spat 2020 out of my intestines, 2021, mixed media on canvas, 70 x 50 cm

© Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi



"This painting comes from one day of collective living. Collective living however uneasy for painters has always been my preference. Cohabitation always teaches us that we can be more flexible because people’s manner of life differ.

However, a friend once asked me if I find it hard to express myself in a specific group, and I wrote in response to her: I don’t understand what you mean by a specific group, but I think I do. I mean with the definitions that society has for each and every one of us, we fit in some groups and don’t fit in others. No matter how much we wouldn’t want to be included in any definition. But it’s been set for us.

In this collective living, sometimes we don’t fit into each other’s moments, sometimes we do more beautifully, in every second of this life with others we wonder if someone else was in place of this person how would my moments turn out?"


Do you wanna join?, 2016, acrylic, Photo: Aurélien Mole @gbagency_paris

© Courtesy of Tirdad Hashemi