Exhibitions | Salt Lake Area Exhibitions

Milad Mozari: Language of Movement at UMOCA

July 5, 2024 – Jan. 8, 2025

anning three decades and three continents of archival material, Language of Movement is Milad Mozari’s ongoing conversation with Ghaffar Pourazar, an Azerbaijani-Iranian computer animator turned Beijing Opera performer. The materials presented are layers of media collected in Pourazar’s life and transported by Mozari from Pourazar’s old apartment in Beijing. They point to Pourazar’s desire to learn Beijing Opera without knowing the language, where he feverously documented learning the art form. This collection is interpolated with family trips and events, where movement is documented in a similar format.

Born in Iran, Ghaffar Pourazar immigrated to the United Kingdom at 13 to attend boarding school in Cambridge, later becoming a professor in mime and animation at the BRIT School for the Performing Arts & Technology. In the summer of 1993, Pourazar saw the Peking Opera, “The Little Phoenix,” at the London International Festival of Theatre, which altered his life trajectory. The performance by the Beijing Jing Ju Troupe moved him so much that he abruptly quit his teaching post and moved to Beijing at 33.

Pourazar spent the next ten years of his life studying Peking Opera and training until his abilities awarded him a limited-speaking role of the Monkey King, which he performs to this day. Pourazar’s uncanny ability to navigate between Western, Eastern, and Middle Eastern cultures, coupled with his arduous search to find authenticity in movement are now veiled by his character’s gold suit and facial makeup.

Through the lens of Pourazar’s background as a computer animator and spatial and surveillance tools, the exhibition looks at the potential of the Sino-Persian as a digital archive. Where conversations between analog and digital challenge the notion of the archive, memory, and place. The work does not try to preserve the art form; instead, it nods to his past as it relates to creativity being boundless.

Mozari’s project, Language of Movement, consists of archival photographs, video, and sound. It features the artist’s interpretation of Pourazar’s journey through animation, computer vision, and immersive environments. The exhibition is a proposal for preservation, where the multiplicity of language and place exist on a continuum.

Utah Museum of Contemporary Art

20 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City UT 84101

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.