Initiated in 2011, the second edition of the Han Nefkens Foundation-MACBA Award has been won by the Iranian collective formed by Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian. The jury determined that the work of this artists’ collective, currently living in Dubai and collaborating since 2009, differs from today’s dominant tendencies in art by their recovery of the importance of experience and sensuality in their work. While their playful installations blur individual practices through their immediate visual impact, their works focus on contemporary politics with wit and irony.

The exhibition at MACBA includes the presentation of Macht Schon and From Sea to Dawn(2016–17), two paintings in movement, and The Maids (2012–15), a work based on Jean Genet’s homonymous novel, and other works made specifically for the occasion, some in collaboration with other creators such as Niyaz Azadikhah (founder of a women’s collective that tell of their experiences with fear), John Cole and Joan Baixas.


We know a Maid who can transform into a Madame. This Maid is only wearing Madame’s clothes, but when we get into his taxi, her shop, or his neighborhood, they tells us how much they dislike the flux of maids who enter the country.

like a never ending human chain, they flow across Europe. Beside the green hills and emerald forests and meadows but always through the concrete Highways and roads.

Madame however, always remains in sight. 

We, the maids, each donate an organ or limb to make a unified body so the marching never stops. 

No one ever asks a bird of passage where they go, neither on earth, nor in the skyor asks a kid or the death.

“I’m going back to my kitchen back to my gloves and the smell of my teeth. To my belching sink. You have your flowers, I my sink. I’m the maid. You, at least, you can't defile me. “ Jean Genet; The Maids.

We know a puppeteer that based on his life journey defines the current times with the word 'fear'. Who defies fear like an alchemist by taking Nomura Jellyfish out of the sea, a giant with no brain or bone structure that radiates in the dark . And morphing it into parachute that may be for rescue but belongs to the war. 

Joan Baixas has been collaborating with numerous artists like Cildo meireles and Joan Miro, seeping through them like steam and bringing out of them something to animate. His recent works express the conflict between the controller and the controlled. Are we controlling the Puppet or is the Puppet controlling us?

And what’s in the space between the controller and the controlled?

A system we call behavior.

A behavior coded by John Cole, a riddle-making A.I. engineer, that creates the mystery in the pattern of the Puppet's movements as seen by the audience.

Based on the density of the bodies in the space, the Puppet will perform a movement choreographed by Joan Baixas. It means, when there are less people in the space, the Puppet will show off what is inside and  when there are more people present in the space, the Puppet will close on itself.

The puppet’s organs, like Frankenstein's, are stitched up from multiple bodies.

Every organ in this body represents a person’s fear. That person one of fifteen underprivileged and vulnerable women who learned tailoring, needlecraft, embroidery and sewing through workshops by the artist and teacher Niyaz Azadikhah.

She collected their written stories of fear: Like Fardina, a 16 year old immigrant from Afghanistan, who’s afraid of going to the bathroom because one time, someone pulled her hair from the behind. Or, Roya, who is pregnant for the third time, but has a fear of loosing this child like the other two, which will be her last chance of living with her husband. Niyaz narrated these stories through drawings, which then became the basis for women’s embroideries.

Are these bodies able to become one? Maybe with all life’s fragility, they will be the next ones to throw the Dinghies into the sea, or the next ones who cut their hair and make voodoos for a brighter future. Or the next ones to go to the South, or East or Northeast.

We met someone who was responsible for letting us into a country that he himself wasn't from. He was performing patriotism more passionately than any patriot, so far that his passion for authority, made us miss our flight. Although we knew we were all from the same breed, his attitude was more like a Madame than the Madame herself.

We seep like steam into Madame's 'blood and soil'. and from Madame’s kind hands blessings rain: shoes, shirts, food ,fruit, raincoats and dates.

Like a logo on tote shopping bag that transforms into a neon sign and every time the dots on the Ö turn on, the logo says “Makes Beautiful” and every time the dots turn off, the logo says “Power Now”.

Perhaps this is all good news? They say a new generation of working class is replacing the old one. They say this new generation might widen Madam’s horizon, when she give up her fears.

The sun doesn’t rise in the east and set in the west for us. In pitch-black, our own bodies are the source of light. It is the glow of the skins ahead that ushers us through the dark.

Inspired by The Suspended Step of the Stork by Theodoros Angelopoulos, we go up the ladder in reverse, thread in hands, reversing our act we get closer to the spectator and by pushing away an object, that object gets closer to us.

Are we able to observe ourselves from behind, in that dark and forceless space? Are we able to experiment not to be a self outside of normative conceptions of value?

And now finally here is where the maids putdown their weaved rug, patterned with a hollow spiral shell; and later on roll it back up once more, and move on once again.


The Maids

Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian.

28.10.2017 to 07.01.2018