Sevruguin's intriguing photo of Naser-al-Din Shah sitting at his desk in the Hall of Mirrors (1890?), summarizes, in a way, Iran’s complex relationship with modernity.
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There is no doubt that the endemic art scene was never so vibrant, boasting ever more players, galleries, artist-run spaces and independent initiatives. But the local art world seems to hover in a liminal in-between state, were expectations for the future are mixed with forms of anxiety and apprehension.
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A number of artworks where elements of absence, disappearance or even dismemberment are at the heart of a practice in which experimentalism is kept alive −instead of an overabundant play with the glossy and the slick− stand out.
In the aftermath of the Nuclear Deal, the desire for self-determination of Iran's art scene could be overshadowed, again, by the renewed expectations of a Western culture industry hungry for easy definable identity-based movements.