Contemporary Notes at Assar Art Gallery

Contemporary Notes
A drawing show, curated by Vahid Sharifian

Image: Drawing by Setareh Shahbazi

Nazgol Ansarinia, Kamrooz Aram, Ali Banisadr, Ala Dehghan, Tala Madani, Arash Sedaghat kish & Setareh Shahbazi.
opens on Friday, 19th November, 2010 from 5-9 PM. The exhibition will continue through Thursday, 2ndDecember, 2010 and visting hours are Sunday – Thursday 11 AM-8 PM. not that the  gallery is closed on Friday, 26th November, 2010

Contemporary Notes is, more than anything, a critique of situation. It questions the situation we are in, while honestly depicting that which we could be in; and that situation is all about art; it is between what is real and what seems real. Crises, their mere existence and sheer diversity, distort thought and obscure reflection making mental isolation and idled creativity seem justified. Meanwhile, deceptive hands of seeming power, encouragingly and outwardly compassionately, attune the artist’s mind from a state of ambitiousness to idleness. Those hands could extend from the social status quo, or represent the interests of those who recklessly drag Middle Eastern art to a local market. The situation in the Middle East is such that instability in the social, economic and political realms causes artists not to reflect on their own world but become tools to – at best – analyze the status quo – in the simplest way possible – and represent it – in a general light. And in the third world, when this exercise in telling the told and stating the obvious takes on the form of photography, or painting or video, it is called art. There is nothing wrong with protesting art but things start to get suspicious when the art leaves the artist behind to turn into a banal manifesto for the political self-expression of people who in these situations merely play the role of a morally sound disgruntled citizen/artist. In these circumstances, rather than reflecting on taste and emotion, and thinking the situation anew, the mind becomes a paragraph of political and social memoire that is framed and sold.

In any case, Contemporary Notes is a group with no political posing and posturing whose significance is not because of the position they take, nor because they express their position, but because of the tone with which they express their situation and play a role, however small, in the international art scene. For they express their thoughts and reflections (or their day-to-day art) in the language and the mood of today’s art. In this exhibition, we are saying that an artist can say new things through the most basic media and in the simplest form regardless of the place from which or in which he or she speaks. All of these seven young artists express themselves unbounded by the place they belong and seek not to market themselves but to be the artists they truly are. So without intellectual self-expression, they see their instinct as the source of the need to think and reflect. And they think according to instinct in a way that taste and emotion, and not their situation (as Iranians) make their work appealing not to the controversies of their times, but to their day.

The idea of this exhibition materialized around last January and it would not have been possible without the help of friends. I wish to thank Afarin Neysari, Jason Reza’ian, Lombard Freid Gallery, Omid Tehrani and Mahdis Keshavarz. And I especially wish to thank my friends Kamruz Aram, Ali Bani-Sadr, Tala Madani, Setareh Shahbazi, Ala Dehghan, Arash Sedaghatkish and Nazgol Ansari-Nia and their galleries for trusting me and leaving their works in my possession to exhibit.

Vahid Sharifian – November 2010

Assar Art Gallery
16 Barforoushan Alley
Iranshahr St. Karimkhan Zand Str.
15836 Tehran – Iran
T/F: +98 21 22 60 72 84