Short Reviews

on Iranian

Contemporary Art

Exhibition Review

Oil: Height of Depth

“Oil: Height of Depth” is the title of a multi-media exhibition by Mohammad Hassanzadeh, held at Argo Factory. Works are done in the form of photographs, prints, videos, metal cuts, natural elements, architectural maps, and scientific information about the main idea of oil and its colonial impacts on the oil-rich neighborhood of Gachsaran in Khouzestan; a figure of the effect of industrial and biological artificial constructions on social relations and the region.

The exhibition is formed based on two main projects: The project at the entrance: The colonial neighborhoods, 34 framed photographs of oil-rich residential centers. Images full of stillness, human absence, and facing nature and artifacts. The other project is oil: the collision of times, including three parts that are formed based on the confrontation of time with the oil mechanism.

  • The Past Time: The Height of Depth

Digital prints are made of drawings with oil combined with images of oil metering graphs. The artist calls it the conquest of nature through recording the data.

  • The Colonial Time: The Alphabet of Failure

A showcase of cutted metal parts (labor exercise) and a stop-motion video made of light shapes passed through these parts that were once forming the colonial measure of workers’ skill.

  • Future Time: After the End

Fabrics nailed to the gallery’s wall with repetitive drawings, which have emphasize on squeezing the oil-soaked Alhagi on them; an indigenous plant that symbolizes the resilience of nature and the recapture of its territory after oil discovery.

In the final part named the Archive Room, some architectural maps of the oil-rich areas and the Alhagi itself are available and most importantly accessible to the audience as an art object and archive in confrontation with nature and the system of domination.

“Oil: Height of Depth” is history. The history of oil domination over places and time and the artist’s life; an extensive, homogenous and symbolically mournful collection.