Biennale of Sydney

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Ramin Haerizadeh

Born 1975 in Tehran, Iran
Lives and works in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Rokni Haerizadeh

Born 1978 in Tehran, Iran
Lives and works in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Hesam Rahmanian

Born 1980 in Knoxville, United States
Lives and works in Dubai, United Arab Emirates


Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian have been working and living in Dubai since 2009. The seeds of their language were sown as early as 1999, back in Iran. Their practice offers up a novel redefinition of the collective, as theirs is constantly growing and contracting to incorporate friends, writers, and artists at large. For the past decade, they have lived through a self-designed discipline, defining strategies of object making and naming their own terms for their approach.

From Sea to Dawn 

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian’s figurative language draws on documentary news images, Iranian modern literature and Persian paintings, focusing specifically on the late Safavid to early Qajar period. In From Sea to Dawn — an alternative take on the European refugee crisis — the artists employ one of their ongoing strategies, which has been categorised as a ’field of negotiation’. This generative field is the core of their collaborative technique – a practice which avoids improvisation and unconstrained interaction and aims to negotiate multiple angles of thinking, projected from different positions onto one surface. Through this they create a visual debate space in their moving paintings, paintings, collages, object-making, performance and videos.

From Sea to Dawn is a moving painting – a montage where every single frame is an individual painting without tracing the movements of the source material.  Through interruption and distortion, this work aims to transform and estrange the familiar in order to create an obstacle, to make the viewer rethink the issue from a new standpoint and evoke different emotions.

From Sea to Dawn stages an intervention into photojournalistic images of migrants, in which they are viewed as a force of nature – as bodies coming out of the water to cross Europe. Here the living and non-living morph into extraordinary entities reminiscent of human and non-human forms, disobeying the laws of physics – gravity, solidity and movement – and coming together unintelligibly as a set of ambiguous elements. The artists negotiate these transformations using the mirroring techniques inspired by Islamic cultural imagery, architecture and geometry. They redefine the body in a subverted context in contrast to familiar media-framed images and analogy. This transformative gaze takes place in an indeterminate zone, where the rhythm and pulse of images awakens new sensations such that the body and nerves are drawn into an altered state of empathy through their experience of the refugee crisis.

I Prefer Talking to Doctors About Something Else

In addition, Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian present a second project at the Powerhouse Museum. Taking the form of visual poetry by incorporating and disorganising objects from the Powerhouse Museum collection, I Prefer Talking to Doctors About Something Else makes a sweeping arc across the themes of grief, the body and healing.

In considering this installation as visual poetry – as a form of reading and being in the world – the process has involved selecting handcrafted objects in dialogue with industrial and technological ones. Scientific texts have also been chosen to coexist with philosophical readings.

The installation also includes a video work, Porkhani, by fellow Iranian artists Javad Azimi and Hamid Hosseini.

Courtesy the artists + Katie Dyer

Exhibited Artwork

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, From Sea to Dawn, 2016-17

Dubai-based artists Ramin, Rokni and Hesam’s collaborative work is created using artefacts from the Powerhouse Museum’s collection. Incorporating and disorganising objects, the artists make a sweeping arc across themes of grief, the body and healing. The installation also includes video work by Javad Azimi and Hamid Hosseini.

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, From Sea to Dawn, 2016-17, single-channel digital video, colour 6:26 mins. Courtesy the artists; Galerie In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris; and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde, Dubai. Presented by the 22nd Biennale of Sydney with assistance from NIRIN 500 patrons

Photograph: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, From Sea to Dawn, 2016-17. Photograph: Zan Wimberley

Location: Campbelltown Arts Centre

Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian,  I Prefer Talking to Doctors About Something Else, 2020

Dubai-based artists Ramin, Rokni and Hesam’s collaborative work is created using artefacts from the Powerhouse Museum’s collection. Incorporating and disorganising objects, the artists make a sweeping arc across themes of grief, the body and healing. The installation also includes video work by Javad Azimi and Hamid Hosseini.

Presented by Powerhouse Museum as part of NIRIN WIR, the 22nd Biennale of Sydney

Photograph: Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian, I Prefer Talking to Doctors About Something Else, 2020. Photograph: Emily McTaggart

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