PICTURING IRAN

Any discussion of contemporary visual arts production in Iran today is inevitably weaved within a tumultuous history rich in aesthetic tradition. Beyond a long and distinguished history of coffee house paintings, miniatures, fluid calligraphy, and humbling architectural design, Iranian identity has globally expanded after years of government censorship and war. Picturing Iran: Engaging the Past/Embracing the Future is a multi-disciplinary examination of this culture in the contemporary age; the exhibition focuses on the traditional patterns and age-old philosophical riddles that are embedded within the varying aesthetics of Iran’s Contemporary Art scene. The ground-breaking exhibition features 30 artists living and working in Iran alongside 40 others living in the Diaspora. The result is a multifarious portrait of contemporary Iranian artists who delicately articulate the complicated nature of their forging identity.

In Picturing Iran: Engaging the Past/Embracing the Future, over 500 works examine the means through which a young generation of artists is reconcile the daily implications of cultural and geographical distances with the search for individual artistic expression. The exhibition offers an unexpected insight into the artistic energy of a culture that is constantly evolving as Iranians living both in and out of the country, come of age living and working in contentious societies.  While half of these artists such as Vahid Sharifian, Barbad Golshiri, Farideh Lashai and Jinoos Taghizadeh reside in Iran, the other half including artists such as Shirin Neshat, Shahram Entekhabi, Mitra Tabrizian and Shoja Azari has been interspersed in the Diaspora, generally based in the Western world.  

These artists explore the deconstruction and reinvention of the self. Their art has resulted from this cultural schism, often swinging between openness and seclusion, dialogue and separatism.  An era of cultural hybridization and sociopolitical turmoil makes it impossible to reduce Iranian art to any linear, artistic representation. Conditions of displacement and internal contradictions create an aesthetic breach in which myth and history, tradition and modernity are forced to confront one another. However, it is this kaleidoscopic perception of the world that allows the Iranian artist tremendous expressive potential. Contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references. Yet, within these disparities, one element stands strong: the recurrent references, sometimes ambiguous, at times emotional, often nostalgic and on occasion satirical and even tragic to Iran the country, Iran the past, the Iran which has been lost and that which could be found. In its pursuit of the dichotomous relationship between the diasporic and native contemporary Iranian aesthetic, Picturing Iran: Engaging the Past/Embracing the Future touches upon a facet of the contemporary art world that is definitive of the post-modern era.


描绘伊朗

对于当今伊朗视觉艺术的创作的任何讨论,不可避免地要和富于美学传统而又充满动荡的历史联系起来。除了咖啡屋绘画,小绘画,流动书法,简陋的建筑设计外,在数年的政府控制和战争动荡下,伊朗身份已经扩大到世界各地。描绘伊朗:承载过去/拥抱未来,对当下的伊朗文化进行了多层面省视,展览集中呈现镶嵌在伊朗当代艺术界多样化美学中传统的艺术图案和古老的思想之谜。这场具有开创性的大展以30位生活和工作于伊朗的艺术家和流亡海外的40位艺术家的作品为主。从而呈现了当代伊朗艺术家的多重画像,他们巧妙地表现了伪造之身份的复杂本质。

在描绘伊朗:承载过去/拥抱未来中,500多件作品集中体现了年轻一代艺术家的创作手法,他们将文化和地理距离上的日常含义与个人对艺术表达的追求结合起来。展览呈现出令人意想不到的效果,观众可以从中领略到居于这个国家内外的伊朗人所创造的一种不断发展的文化,这批伊朗艺术家在一个充满异议的社会背景下成年。他们中有一半人居住在伊朗,如瓦西德莎·里弗安巴布德·格士里发里登·拉色和基努斯·塔西乍得,另一半如莎里朗·娜沙特莎朗·恩特卡布朗米塔朗·塔布里赞,索加·阿扎里则大多生活在西方国家。

这些艺术家探讨了自我的消解和重生。他们的艺术源于这种文化上的分裂,在开放和隔离,对话和分裂主义之间摇摆。这个文化混杂和社会政治动荡的时代使得将伊朗的艺术缩略为一切单向的艺术表达变成了可能。流放和内乱的现实产生了美学上的破裂,在此,神话和历史、传统和现代被迫直面彼此。然而,正是这种对世界千变万化的看法,赋予了伊朗艺术家巨大的表现力。与人们期望不同的是,居于海外的这些艺术家反而更依赖于他们的文化所留下来的瑰宝,而国内的那些艺术家却更关注于日常生活这样的议题,并未考虑外界对伊朗的期待和看法。在这些大不同中,有一点非常明显:对伊朗这个国家,它的过去,和已经迷失而可以再找回的伊朗,那些反复出现的历史指涉,有时模糊,有时又非常感性,通常都充满乡愁,时而又具有讽刺性甚至是悲剧性。