Ali Zanjani’s photographic series share the concept of repetition with prayer and wrestling. In each instance, a precise ritual of movements and positions, fixed by tradition or the law, must be respected. The acquisition of these techniques must not be ignored or neglected. The metaphoric discourse of the series take Iranian television films from the pre-revolutionary period, extracting just a few stills and breaking up the narrative. Excluding length and movement makes each image a sign isolated in a frame, an instruction that must be followed. The tilts, the prostrations, all the movements are a series of invocations and implorations. The body language is conventional, obeying strict, intangible codes with a meaning we all get. The hand-to-hand combat, depict the obviousness of the relationship between the dominant and the dominated. Everyone finds their place here in the “natural” order of things. Ali Zanjani’s photography removes the deceitfully “essentialist” envelope from around common sense. Bodies and space find their place in a system of didactic, graphic notation. The living becomes a pictogram. Faced with the permanence of stability, the photographer has no choice but to propose the opposite, instability and chance.

François Cheval, June 2018