Short Reviews

on Iranian

Contemporary Art

Exhibition Review

Heading Utopia, Chapter 2: The Spring that Never Came

A look at the history of art can always be found in the works of Behrang Samadzadegan. In his latest series titled “Heading Utopia, Chapter 2: The Spring that Never Came”, Samadzadegan has formed a narrative of the political history in Iran and other subjects, using a combination of works of Western painting art history and Iranian painting; an approach that can be seen in his works these years. Using watercolor with a mixture of different ways of working on relatively large scales is his main method in this series. There is no hero in them and all the visual elements are visible with the same energy and look attractive and impressive at the first glance. But do these works narrate history?
Samadzadegan started his professional career in the early 2000s, and like many of his contemporaries, used history to describe the present in his works. Of course, teaching art history has not been ineffective in this approach.
These works are not a remake of history but are formed by putting different technical acts and contemporary and historical visual elements beside each other. If we want to check the works based on the artist’s idea, all the points mentioned are justifiable. But if we do so regardless of the idea, then the need to use different forms together is not clear.
The adaptations that create the title, are a separate feature in this series and the need to use them is not clear as well. Referring to history and the connection with the past had an important role since Modernism onwards, although here the artist refers directly to the word “quotation” and below that explains the concept of anti-aesthetics and image disorder.
The question is, what does the critical review in the past has to do with the present?