Group Exhibition "Moustache" - Dena Gallery

Romantic Left- Farshid Parsikia
farzaneh Hosseini- from "People of City"
Hamid Janipour - Fake´s Reflections
Hamzeh Farhadi- Haji Agha
Arash Tanhaei
Farid Aminoleslam- Untitled
Mohammadreza Shahrokhi Nejad- I will brake your Horn
Madjid Abbasi Farahani- Center of gravity
Mehdi Fatehi- Untitle Changed
Naser TeymourPour- You see  hair
Peyman Shafii Zade- Kave/Iradj
Shadi Noyani- In praise of Father
Mohsen Saghafy- I have Mustache, So you are/I am
Curator Statement


Moustache: It is derived from "sabal" meaning hair that grows on(under) a man´s upper lip. It has other names such as: Brut, Shareb and Sabalat … It is a sort of makeup made from woad or woad and kohl worn by women on their upper lips to look like Nasebians(People who considered Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shiite Moslem, as enemy) who had twisted their moustaches on both sides.(For more information refer to the book Alnafaz, p.391)
-Handlebar Moustache: This form belongs to a man whose brut has upward pointing ends.
-Thick Moustache: This type is worn by a man with bushy moustache.
- Big Moustache: In this form, the brut is very big.
Barut: Seblat means the hair of lip, all hair growing over upper lip. Shareb .
Man (Mart): … brave, gallant, courageous, militant, artist, warrior, fearless, in contrast with coward, scary, nerveless … . gentleman, honorable, dignified, prestigious in contrast with common, ignoble, insignificant, mean.
P.S.: In Pahlavi language A Middle Persian language used from the end of Achaemenian dynasty from 559 to 330 BCE to the advent of Islam in the 7th century CE) mard was written as mart and in Avestan language-the language of Avesta, the primary collection of religious texts of Zoroastrianism merta and in archaic Persian language we have martiya meaning man, human being… meaning well-deserved, decent, having good reputation… //master, owner, possessor// contestant.
Manliness:/maerdanegee/ (n.) It refers to the characteristics of a man having athletic strength, power, ability, force, gallantry, bravery, virtue, honsesty, patriotism,maturity, generosity, nobility, chivalry, fearlessness, decency, capability, forgiveness, adventurous and risky
Manly /maerdane/: (adj.) brave, courageous, heroic, gallant, fearless, strong
Masculinity /maerdee/ (n.): heroism, authority, power, gallantry, generosity, virtue, manhood, humanity, bravery, courage, fearlessness, maturity and being helpful
Mustached: A person who has thick bushy moustache as to be privileged from other persons.
 Different types of Moustaches:
1. The first type of moustache belongs to the Feudal (Khans), rulers, the head
of servants, men bearing torches, slovenly men, bully-men, ruffians, security men, bandits and the rebels. Their moustache looking like two heathers were pulled from sides of their nose, sometimes downward, sometimes right and sometimes upward which were called moustache of torch bearer or moustache-scaring pants off. This kind of waggish talking causes the viewer or hearer makes his pants dirty.
2. The second type belongs to old princes, dukes, king´s representative, Prime Minister and landlords. In this type the moustache is full like the previous type but thrown down with some hair from both sides of chin like the head-tail of an ass. This was the moustache made from the beard. It was called merged (joint) moustache.
 3. The third type belongs to the old persons, old sportsmen and sports teacher. This form of moustache covered all the hair behind the lips up to the mouth gap slightly hung downward and hung on the upper lip.
4. The fourth type is Ali´s Dervish Moustache (the followers of Imam Ali-The first Imam of Shiite Moslems. Dervishes know Ali as God). Their sign was the hanging position of shareb (moustache).
 5. The fifth type is Chicken Moustache which is thinner than the moustache of the Old Dash-Mashdi and its tip is sharp and twisted. (Dash Mashdi is a person whom other people had to agree with.)
6. The sixth type of moustache belongs to the noblemen´s, rich businessmen´s and Hajis´(pilgrims´) sons. In this type, the moustache was made thin from front, around the lips and both side of nose called Pencil and Mouth Brow Moustache.
7. The seventh type of moustache called Lacy Moustache which belongs to dudes and playboys. In this type, the moustache is made thin and narrow.
8. The eighth type of moustache belongs to the office clerks. In this type the moustache gets bushy over the lips but becomes thin and pointed from both sides.
9. The ninth type of moustache refers to the newly-grown moustache which matches with the clothes and hats designed by the regime of Pahlavi. The hair behind the lip gets gradually little and short so that it can find its place in the lip socket as small as one´s fingernail. The big kind was called Pipsqueak and the small one was some sort of Cheesy. The reason for giving them such funny names was these facts that the moustache at that time representing manliness and masculinity was considered as a big swear on the person´s manly moustache not only for himself but also for his audience (addressee). The man with moustache kept one of the hair strands of his moustache as a mortgage doing every commitment (obligation) he promised to do. Sometimes, removing the moustache hair happens so many times that no hair was left on the back of the lip except a mark.
 Why Moustache?
Semiotics and the science of sign study has profoundly and widely expanded. It includes both understanding and interpreting road signs or finding meanings for human being´s posture and also understanding and finding the meanings of words and sounds. Different theories presented by followers of structuralism such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Charles Sunders Peirce and poststructuralists such as Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault and Umberto Eco´s have tried to make models for the system of signs so that by means of these models and systems can interpret and understand the signs and human mind.
If we focus on Umberto Eco´s quotation on Semiotics, "Semiotics deals with whatever we call sign." then we can call everything a sign that has the capacity of interpretation and definition.
Perhaps in the definition and purpose of the curator of the present exhibition "Sebil=Moustache", Saussurean sign model (the dual model of the signifier and the signified) seems more pragmatic. But because of one reason, it is preferable to use Peircean triad of Semiotics to clarify the presence of this collection. The reason is to give the possibility of a dialogue between the artist and the curator and the result is an artistic work which occurs due to distinctive feature between Saussurean and Peircean model. This distinctive feature lies in the distinctive element which Peirce puts in his own model "The concept of interpretation of signs."        
Peircean model
Saussurean model
Peircean model:
According to Peircean model (Triad Model), there´s this possibility of interpreting the sign-that is it has the sign or symbol of a referent object to the subject or substantiality of an object. Unlike the Saussurean abstract signification, the referent case is an object-that is the case C. This is the view which gives significance to the process of meaning formation. There is a need for an interpreter leading to the interpretation of a relationship between A. and B. The interpreter is an "artist" in this project.
The case is obvious in the figure below:
The relationship between the sign and interpretable concept (A-B) suggests a possibility which is the main basis for collecting and creating the works. Therefore, we can consider it as a semiotic collection on the basis of a common sign among different nations. It is a sign that contains concepts, referents and even various shapes of a unique symbol so as that its apparent change can cause the occurrence of complete different concepts from other signs.
Some signs have historical trend which takes form in the bed of society and becomes consistent. As a result, on the way of evolution, development and change of history, that sign goes under change and development. Even the meanings of these signs change into their self-contrast.
Manliness masculinity, bravery, zeal, following principles, hospitality to strangers, caring or paying attention to the orphans and many other concepts were once considered as social values respected by the people in the societies who admired such persons with good qualities mentioned above. The people in those societies usually took their hats off as a sign of respect whenever they saw such benefactors. Men were the symbols representing these qualities and the young who newly grew the hair behind the lips were forced to follow these characteristics.
Sebil (Sibil is the variant form in local dialect) used to be worn by the male members of the society obliging them to be committed to the right of people and to have honour and respect for them. In short, Sebil represented manliness and masculinity. As time passed on, the definition of this sign went under some changes. Once it became the sign of people belonging to a specific social class or carrying out special profession. In the last decade of 1340(1961s), 1350(1971s) and 1360(1981s) Sebil was a sign for belonging to a specific ideology. It has been more than 2 decades that Sebil doesn´t represent any sign any more. If a person wears sebil (moustache), he is attributed to a follower of a prevalent fashion or a follower who follows a movement against the current fashion, although it is still considered by the middle-aged and the old-aged as a sign of having the same old characteristics. To some people believing in sex movement, it is a sign for people believing in having desire for patriarchy and ignoring the right of half of the population of human beings (the females). It is a barrier to the owners of makeup factories to sell their consuming product. To some people, it is still a sign of what they believed in the past. To forget this evident sign of masculinity, a movement in Australia has started out as Movember. (Moustache November) this movement tries to inform men on the danger of prostate cancer by advertising wearing moustache in November. After November, the followers shave their one-moth moustache and go back to the former appearance. The aim of Movember is "to change the situation of men´s health."   
Explaining all these details makes us draw this conclusion that sebil (moustache) is a sign—a sign of sexual, social, class, political identification and thought. It is a method of expressing the ability to differentiate.
It is a case of differentiating what and how to be. Wearing Sebil was a guarantee for job and financial transaction. Once, it was thought a social valor, but now it is considered as an anti-social valor of present day aesthetics. A certain number of our society and culture think of Sebil as a sign of fossilization and anachronism. Another group of people assess it as a sign or symbol of mystic thought and other groups evaluate it as a political sign. There are still some other people who think of it as a sign or symbol of manliness and masculinity. To be or not to be and how to be all depend on the inferences which are the result of a society with cultural variety and various thoughts. The thickness, length and width of these strands of hair growing on the upper lip can be a sign of the culture and the action of its owner. It can be merely a visual sign.
The sign of "Sebil", stated in detail, can have various meanings for the curator and artists of this exhibition.
For some concepts, there are the same comments which can be shared, whereas for others they are different. Our main subject is the same collection which consists of some hair growing behind the men´s lips—a sign about which each artist has his own interpretation and comment.  
Mohsen Saghafy
Teheran-1394 (2015)