Radical Alternatives: Temporal and Spatial Mediations in Contemporary Iranian Art
The Courtauld Institute of Art
Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 5:00 to 6:30 p.m.
This is a live online event. Registration required.
Organized by Dr. Robin Schuldenfrei, Katja and Nicolai Tangen Senior Lecturer in 20th Century Modernism, The Courtauld Institute of Art
Prof. Pamela Karimi explores the spatial and temporal turns that have animated Iranian art scenes since the 1990s. She illuminates the economic, social, intellectual, and visceral forces that have driven Iran’s creative agents toward increasingly original forms of site-oriented and durational artmaking. Predominantly ephemeral, most of these artworks don’t enter the global art market, at least not in the conventional sense of the term. Hence, outside their local contexts, these creative enterprises have remained largely unexplored. Played out across private homes, garages, pop-up venues, dilapidated buildings, and other informal platforms, these radically alternative art forms are nonetheless profoundly influential on the ground.
Post-revolutionary places where unconventional and grassroot activities take place, are frequently rendered as the underground, a perception that is highly contested by many artists inside Iran. Indeed, while there is arguably a bit of “underground-ness” in every artistic event outside the purview of the authorities, nothing is entirely hidden or covert. Moreover, despite their ostensibly radical characteristics, alternative art forms are not always political or controversial; rather, they convey wide-ranging messages. While some exude social or subversive meanings, others simply undertake novel aesthetic considerations. Through a series of significant case studies, this lecture elucidates an understudied aspect of contemporary Iranian art which is intimately intertwined with everyday life, urban space, and architecture.