Iran Inside Out
Influences of Homeland and Diaspora on the Artistic Language of Contemporary Iranian Artists
This groundbreaking exhibition features 35 artists living and working in Iran, some exhibiting abroad for the first time, alongside 20 others from around the world living in the Diaspora. The result is a multifarious portrait of 55 contemporary Iranian artists challenging the conventional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art.
In Iran Inside Out, 210 contemporary works comprising of painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation come together, in a rare moment which allows visitors an intimate look into the people, both inside and outside a country that is more complex than images of veiled women, worn out calligraphy and what a handful of other emblematic images would suggest.
Iran Inside Out is an examination of the means through which a young generation of artists is reconciling the daily implications of cultural and geographical distances with the search for individual artistic expression. The exhibition, which puts focus on the new generation, 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.
Iran Inside Out explores the process of deconstruction and reinvention of both, self and art that has resulted from this cultural schism, often swinging between openness and dialogue, or seclusion and separatism. Ironically, 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.