In early 2014, and following an invitation by GEMAK in The Hague, I was appointed as the co-curator to develop a project together with Marie-Jeanne De Rooij, that later was named LOCUS (upcoming Iranian artists abroad). Locus focuses on artists of the Iranian post-revolution baby-boom generation and the impact of ‘locus’ (place) on their artistic practice. The exhibition was held from October 3rd to November 22nd 2014.
Project: LOCUS asked artists to develop work at GEMAK based on their experiences as an artist leaving Iran to study and further develop their artistic practice outside of the Iranian cultural and political context. What impact does this different place-to-be have for their art and how does it affect their artistic practice also considering the decision they have to make eventually to stay abroad or to go back home?
Pendar Nabipour: “For socio-political transitions to happen process is required, and a continuing process creates the space to acquire collective experiences for people who are dealing with the process of transition. The Iranian younger generations forming 2/3rd of the whole Iranian 80 million population, have experienced a post-revolutionary period, war, and many other uncomfortable, uneasy changes during their lifetime, but also a widely similar popular culture. This package of collectively and commonly shared experiences also creates unique opportunities for Iranian young artists to narrate stories and suggest ideas that explain a number of reasons for an ongoing transition which is not only local but also global in many ways.
While the Iranian art scene has been seeking more and more interactions with the global art scene during the recent decade, many Iranian artists have left home to collect experiences outside of the local boundaries. This situation provides a good opportunity for a two-way dialogue between the expat artist and the hosting country, and also a chance for the Iranian artists to narrate their stories, exploring new territory in new ways.”
Artists: Siamak Anvari, Ehsan Behmanesh, Ehsan Fardjadniya / Pirate Cinema (with special thanks to Philip Gladek, Martin Boverhof & Bas Klompmaker), Farhad Fazouni, Pendar Nabipour, Arefeh Riahi, Celia Eslamieh Shomal, Amir Tirandaz, Hamed Yousefi, Joubin Zargarbashi, Mehregan Kazemi, Reza Abedini (graphic design)
The exhibition was organized by Vrije Academie Gemak, co-curated by Marie Jeanne de Rooiji and Pendar Nabipour
The exhibition included a side program with performance, screening and lecture events:
OPENING GUEST: JOOBIN BEKHRAD
Writer, critic, and curator Joobin Bekhrad (Toronto – Canada) is the founder and editor of REORIENT (www.reorientmag.com), an online magazine celebrating contemporary Middle Eastern arts and culture. Founded in 2012 REORIENT is a non-religious, non-political, non-partisan, and non-ideological entity, made possible by the efforts of contributors around the world.
At the opening, Joobin Bekhrad explained about his initiative and gave his view on the LOCUS-exhibition. He also read out loud one of his own short stories addressing his own Iranian/Persian background and what it means to be in-between places and cultures.
TVDOME–OPENING PERFORMANCE BY EHSAN FARDJADNIYA / PIRATE CINEMA
During the exhibition TVDome-performances by Ehsan Fardjadniya / Pirate Cinema were happening in different forms and times. During the video mixing performances, the TVDome was a political remix arena where you could experience the encompassing power of media or re-learn how to lie with editing.
Lecture by Neil van der Linden: Is the ‘metro’ the only underground in Tehran?
Neil van der Linden is an agent for cultural exchange with North-Africa, Middle-East, Central Asia, Subcontinent, the West, co-founder and editor of the Gulf Art Guide.