Strangely Beautiful: Travelling Through the Eyes of a Solitary Walker
Let me give myself over entirely to the pleasure of conversing with my soul, since this is the only pleasure that men cannot take away from me
When I first stumble upon Sandi Kalifadani's work, I was spellbound by its strange beauty. It was as if I was looking into someone's dream, as if I was still in that strange place between sleeping and awaking. Maybe it was the strong vignette and the grainy effect that does it, or maybe it was the soul that he puts into these pictures that does the trick.
After spending sometime choosing his work, I find the beauty of his work very disturbing. In one way it was a little bit too 'beautiful' it's almost look ordinary. But then, I find a bit of creepiness lurking at the edge of every picture. Suddenly, things are unlike what it seems.
That juxtaposition of creepiness and beauty reflects the personal life of the artist. Sandi Kalifadani is well known as a yogi by day and a hardcore band guitarist by night. He is living a balance life between those two different worlds of stillness and noise which he both finds meditative.
In photography, Kalifadani is a passionate hobbyist who persistently took pictures using analog cameras, expired films, and experiments in any kind of techniques. He sometime travels with two or three different cameras preloaded with different kind of films to capture whatever interest him during the journey. He would choose different camera and specific films to achieve certain result he expected. From that serious consideration, we can see that although he plays with 'toy' cameras, he's not toying around.
Still in his nature of juxtaposition, the result of his photos will be a mix of unexpected combination of colors, shape, and ideas. At other times when he use red scale films, what you see at the printed photos is actually inverted: that tree at the right side that you see, is actually standing at the left side at the real life. Once again, things are unlike what it seems.
In this exhibition, Kalifadani will lead you to a journey through the eyes of a solitary walker. Most of the pictures shown here was taken during his solitary journey of looking for serenity and stillness.
The picture, "Finding Stillness" and "Spellbound" was taken after a long lonely climb up to the primordial mountain where he found a space to actually conversing with his soul. With the picture "Serene is the Mist", he’d like to bring you to walk down the misty forest where you can almost taste the peppermint wind brushing your skin. At other time, let him take you to daydream of a foggy bridge that leads to a secret world at the ‘other side’.
One thing that interests me more is the way he keeps collecting trees. At first, he did not realize this tendency. He spontaneously captures them during that tranquil moment of strolling between the woods. His compilation, "Collecting Trees" is like a travel journal containing trees from different places and time. Unlike his God-like view from the top of the mountain, the trees he collected keep him on the ground as himself.
At the end, all that solitude that he shares will leave a trail of a peculiar mood in every picture; it is something that is visible to the soul of the viewer.