Short Reviews

on Iranian

Contemporary Art

Artists’ Views

Barbad Golshiri

Imagine a day that ash covers our realm of art as once Pompeii and Herculaneum were buried under ashes. Art sometimes requires that kind of imagination. In our situation we might merely need to extend the status-quo in our imagination: making the economically, culturally and artistically marginalised people more marginalised; killing of people, throttling of freedom of speech defenders and further triblasing of Iranian contemporary art scene. Let us aggravate the situation in our minds more and more till a rather apocalyptic image appears before our eyes, an image that shows a wasteland of thought, plurality and criticism. Then it would suffice to imagine archaeologists who, in an imaginary future, come across our burnt city and sweep the dust and ash layer by layer. What will they uncover? Our misery for sure, but will they merely find works of art locked safe and sound in the vaults of bankers, of auction dwellers and oil traders? Will they discover that there were artistic tribes in Iran competing with each other or in quasi-religious anymosity, paying no heed to cinders and ashes covering their heads and hands? Or would they, rather, reveal that they were members of a nation that eventually gathered around a certain principle: freedom of expression (and of course freedom after expression?)

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