Solo Exhibition at the Galleries at Katara Cultural Village, Doha, Qatar ‘I Dream of Jeannie: I See Demons’ by Eric Parnes
Aug 23, 2012 Exhibition
The work of artist Eric Parnes - also known as Eric Esmail Parnes - is of a multimedia nature. It has been presented in a wide variety of mediums, including mixed media objects and sculptures, paintings, video installations, photography, and unique materials, often utilizing internationally-known logos and corporate symbols in an examination of Middle Eastern cultures as seen within the constantly evolving landscape of globalization.
The artist’s work has developed to incorporate both his cultural and ethnic heritage as an American of Iranian descent, and is in particular noted for successfully exploring the ongoing history of Oriental imagery in both the West and the East. Parnes has appropriately referred to his own individual style of art as that of a "Neo-Orientalist™" (like "Neo-Orientalism,™" terms trademarked by Eric Parnes in an additional reflection of the ongoing transformation of language and the rebirth of world cultures in commercialism).
In the exhibition of Parnes’ pieces assembled for I DREAM OF JEANNIE / I SEE DEMONS, the artist touches the phenomena of late 1960’s: the creation of a hit romantic comedy television series entitled I Dream of Jeannie. Starring actress Barbara Eden in the title role of a female genie, the show aired for an entire five seasons from September 1965 to May 1970. It is of interest that the show’s premise was conceived of in the time following the much-publicized official visit of the Shah of Iran to the United States during the Kennedy Administration. The show’s late creator Sidney Sheldon’s complete metamorphosis of a genie played by a blonde, blue-eyed female, fiercely propelled I Dream of Jeannie’s reinvention of ancient Persian mysticism into the Western psyche and forever influenced the cultural landscape.
“The TV show then entered the mainstream vernacular of the typical American and still maintains its influence,” reflects the artist Eric Parnes.
Dreaming of Jinn I, 2012, Photographic Print, 72cm x 88cm, Plexi Mount Edition of 10 / Courtesy of the Artist and the Galleries at Katara Cultural Village
Neo Orientalist™ Aroosak I to VI, 2012, Fabrics and Mixed Media,12cm x 7cm x 40cm / Courtesy of the Artist and the Galleries at Katara Cultural Village
The Western concepts of the genie usually range from the wondrously benign to the downright mischievous. Yet, in the Middle East, the Jinn is reportedly most often identified as having negative intentions of mischief-making and trouble-doing. Accordingly, the artist further states, when translating the show’s famous American title into a poetic Farsi, the context instead suggests - quite literally - I See Demons.
“The selection of works in this exhibition examines the broader implications of the dynamics between the East and the West, as based in his program,” remarks the artist. Here, Parnes’ engaging photographs of Middle Eastern women adorned with an unexpectedly pink headpiece reminiscent of the Jeannie character, with matching pink scarves, subtly comment on the underlying clash of fiction and reality we face daily as a virtue of the human experience.
Another piece further explores the coexistence of fantasy and reality. In a fine art installation sculptural piece, utilizes the familiar image of a doll, appears to hint what an actual Jinn may look like using the common fashion senses of the contemporary Middle East, instead of mimicking the I Dream of Jeannie character. The Jinn is beautiful, inviting, yet at the same time, exerts a certain sense of possible vexatious danger.
Jinn Vessel Pink, 2012, Porcelain, 6cm x 35cm, Edition of 8 / Courtesy of the Artist and the Galleries at Katara Cultural Village
I Dream of Jeannie: I See Demons, 2012, Video and Sound Installation, 6 Minutes / Courtesy of the Artist and the Galleries at Katara Cultural Village
Together, the group of works seen in the exhibition ‘I DREAM OF JEANNIE: I SEE DEMONS’ collectively showcase an artist’s meaningful examination of Neo Orientalism™ in recent history; and how this particular television phenomena has unexpectedly cast a powerful, enduring spell that continues to affect the world’s imagination of the East.
The exhibition will open with a gala reception for the artist on October 23, 2012 and will run through November 24, 2012.