Solo exhibition by Iranian artist Mahmoud Bakhshi to be held in Baku

Solo exhibition by Iranian artist Mahmoud Bakhshi to be held in Baku

A solo exhibition by an Iranian artist Mahmoud Bakhshi will open at YAY Gallery (Baku) in May. The exhibition is curated by an art historian theorist Daria Kirsanova who previously worked for several art-institutions, such as Serpentine Gallery and Victoria Miro Gallery in London.

Talk Cloud will be hosted by Yay Gallery located in the historical area of Baku.

Yay Gallery was established in September 2012 as an addition to the broader initiative conceived by YARAT Contemporary Art Organization in order to support and promote the development of Azerbaijani contemporary art both on a national and international level. The gallery is commercial but not-for-profit purposes. All potential revenue from the art sales is channelled into supporting YARAT initiatives and the artists.

Bakhshi's practice deals with a visual aesthetic that developed in Iran in the aftermath of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. He reflects on the recent history of Iran through a recontextualisation of the official symbolism of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and uses deeper historical and traditional formal references to ground this recent history within the larger context of Iranian identity.

TalkCloud is a cross-disciplinary project that includes lightbox sculptures, drawings and video (currently in production). The project was exhibited earlier this year at Niavaran Cultural Centre in Tehran and narrative gallery in London. The project's conceptual core is the multifaceted and multilayered relationship between art and power-holding systems in Iran and elsewhere. This relationship has been a longstanding subject of artistic enquiry for Bakhshi. In this new body of work he is looking into the very origins of the notion of so-called 'political engagement' in art. But it is not just political power that Bakhshi is interested in. He is equally concerned with the interaction between art and capital, another stakeholder in this rivalry for authority.

The lightbox sculptures formally recall traditional Persian calligraphy, but, instead of famous verses of poetry, they reference well-known phrases that comment on the social role of art. The quotes include expressions by the leaders of the Iranian Islamic and Russian Bolshevik revolutions - Khomeini and Lenin - alongside those by the current Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the ideologue of the 'artistic engagement' and Social Realism, Anatoliy Lunacharsky, as well as Andy Warhol.

The contrast between the content of the phrases, which call attention to a social role of art, and their presentation in the shape of embellished ornament, creates a conceptually charged paradox. At the same time, the diverse industrial materials used to produce the works underline Bakhshi's fascination with the brutal aesthetics and materiality of Arte Povera.

The eight-panel installation My Land, Meridian ...° - ...°, orbit ...° - ...°, a reference to Yasna, Hat 46 was shown for the first time in 2004. It was subsequently reworked in 2013, when an iron frame with the inscribed quote from Yasna and the exact geographical coordinates was added to each panel. The eight panels represent eight parts of the current border of Iran and refer to the areas where the important battles and significant conflicts took place throughout the history. The events that transformed the country, that divided the perception of history to 'before' and 'after'.

The quote from Zarathustra, in this context, points out to another layer of meaning. It references the nostalgic, sentimental relationship one has with the past and ones own homeland. The work puts the discussion around the social role of art into a wider, historical and philosophical perspective.

The drawing series Hard copy is an ongoing project that the artist started in 2012. These digital drawings, made using coloured ink, reference familiar propaganda iconography that glorifies martyrs in the Iran-Iraq war. Bakhshi transforms them into simple, childlike drawings, using formal alterations to trigger conceptual metamorphoses. He takes these images out of their charged context, the detached realm of 'heroic propaganda', and turns them into schematic, nearly abstract graphic symbols.

This play with the visual iconography and ideological framework of the official Islam becomes more pronounced in Halal sculpture. The work refers to an ongoing debate among Iranian ruling elite about whether or not the sculpture as a medium is allowed in the Islamic society or shall it be removed from public life as 'haram' (forbidden). Bakhshi offers a witty solution by creating the first 'halal' public sculpture.

About the Artist

Mahmoud Bakhshi (b. 1977, Tehran). His previous exhibitions include TalkCloud, Niavaran Cultural Centre, Tehran, 2014; Love Me/ Love Me Not, Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and its Neighbors, The 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale, Venice, 2013; DISASTER, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris-Pantin, 2013; Transformed Visions, Tate Modern, London, 2012; Hard Copy, Art Gwangju 2012; Bah Man, Aun Gallery, Tehran and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 2011; The Engaged Artist: Influences of Graphics on Sculpture in the Middle Ages, Saatchi Gallery (Project Room), London, 2010; Last Ride in a Hot Air Balloon, The 4th Auckland Triennial, 2010; Iran: New Voices (Exploring Contemporary Iranian Film and Video Art), Barbican Centre, London, 2008; Lion under the Rainbow (Contemporary Art from Tehran), Athens, 2008; Iran.Com, Iranian Art today, Museum of New Art, Freiburg, 2006.

Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region growing foreign potatoes
Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region growing foreign potatoes
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenhimiya opens tender to buy various equipment, spare vehicle parts
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenhimiya opens tender to buy various equipment, spare vehicle parts
Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz region completing preparations for wheat harvesting
Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz region completing preparations for wheat harvesting
Loading Bars
No damage or victims reported after 6.9-magnitude earthquake in Chile
Car drives onto sidewalk cafe in southern Netherlands, injuring six
Oman reports 738 new COVID-19 cases, 13,538 in total
Oil moves higher, hovers below $40 as doubts emerge over next step on OPEC cuts
Earthquake jolts Indonesia's Bali, no tsunami alert issued
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to launch newly renovated “Aghjabadi-2” power substation (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Kazakhstan increases import of chemicals from Turkey
Azerbaijani president inaugurates grain processing plant in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president arrives in Aghjabadi district for visit (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Spain reports first new COVID-19 death since Sunday
Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers: Borders remain closed due to current situation
EIB funds construction project in Georgia
TABIB: If people abide by quarantine regime rules, restrictions not to be further introduced in Azerbaijan
Georgia prepares for peach and nectarine harvesting season
Azerbaijani PM to reveal details related to restrictions
Volume of deposits in national currency greatly increases in Azerbaijan
Activity of Facebook users in Azerbaijan keeps growing
Operational Headquarters: Going outside may be banned in some Azerbaijani cities
TABIB: Shopping malls planned to be fully closed on weekend in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan names economy sector with biggest share of credit investments
Kazakhstan to up its gross agricultural output before year-end
Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers:Tightening quarantine regime rules under discussion
Ministry of transport eyes transferring airports of Uzbekistan to foreign investors
Timeframe for orbiting Turkish satellites Turksat 5A, Turksat 6A announced
Azerbaijan discloses data on collection of premiums in insurance market in April 2020
Bank of Georgia launches campaign to support farmers
Iran aims to boost export of mineral products
Azerbaijan confirms 325 new COVID-19 cases
Azerbaijani Azexport portal notes growing export orders after softening quarantine regime
Azerbaijan State Tax Service talks concessions made to taxpayers
Azexport portal talks availability of Facebook Shop in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to launch drinking water supply and sewerage systems in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president inaugurates “ASAN xidmet” center in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president attends ceremony to start grain harvest in Aghjabadi (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Export of carpets from Turkey abroad drops two-fold in May 2020
Association of Uzbek textile manufacturers talks about progress of industry
Travel by railway remains suspended in Georgia
Ambassadors of EU member states interested in reopening tourism sector in Georgia
Turkey's export of defense products from January through May 2020 declines
Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits northern Chile, copper mines say unaffected
France says latest U.S. trade threats over digital tax a 'contradiction'
SOCAR subsidiary starts producing raw material for medical masks fabric
Azercell introduces new “Mobile TV” service for kids
Trump administration set to bar Chinese passenger carriers from flying to U.S.
Investments help Kazakhstan raise agriculture goods processing
Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region growing foreign potatoes
Italy may use new Kazakhstan-tested platform to track quarantine compliance
Azerbaijani president visits military unit in Aghdam (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Baku Stock Exchange pays interest on bonds of Azerbaijan Mortgage and Credit Guarantee Fund
Georgia, Estonia discuss cooperation in field of transportation, tourism
Agriculture sector digitalization leads to significant money savings in Kazakhstan
Turkey's export of cars abroad from January through May 2020 slips
Airlines cut fares to help boost May traffic
Export of Turkey's export of ready-made clothes down compared to 2019
Georgia expects average cherry crop
Netherlands, Azerbaijan could create train connection
Azerbaijan developing new alternative energy project
Saudi, Russia reach deal on oil cuts, raising pressure for compliance
Uzbek textile products in great demand on French market
German bans digital doppelganger passport photos
Textile industry of Uzbekistan - fastest growing sector of country's economy
Quarantine regime to be strengthened in Kazakhstan’s Almaty city
Azerbaijani enterprise starts exporting canned goods to US
EU implements new projects to support vulnerable groups in Georgia
Payments of insurance claims by four Azerbaijani insurers decline
Export of Turkey's leather products to int'l markets down
Azerbaijani Azexport portal talks Facebook Shops integration
Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna decreases its share in Kazatomprom
ADB continues to support Azerbaijan’s efforts to diversify its energy mix
Turkmenistan’s Turkmenhimiya opens tender to buy various equipment, spare vehicle parts
Turkey's export of wood, furniture abroad from January through May 2020 plummets
Coronavirus negatively affects almost all sectors of Georgian economy
Kazakhstan records decrease in money transfer volume
Oil, gas exploration work to be held throughout Turkey
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for procurement of pump repair kit
Hajj pilgrimage from Azerbaijan may not take place this year
Azerbaijan's Agricultural Insurance Fund talks managing company branding
Azerbaijan's pomegranate association aims to increase export volumes
BoE says advising banks to prepare for possible no-deal Brexit
16 insurance companies increase payment of insurance claims in Azerbaijan
Belgium to open bars and restaurants but not nightclubs
Azerbaijani president attends inauguration of Tartar branch of “Azerkhalcha” OJSC (PHOTO/VIDEO)
GNERC: Over 20% of business entities provided with internet services in Georgia
Cargo transshipment through Turkey's Antalya port disclosed
Turkey's export of grain, legumes to int'l markets marginally up
Exhibition of historical Baku photos opens on Baku boulevard (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani pomegranate association reveals new export targets
Turkey's export to D-8 countries down from Jan. through Apr. 2020
Turkmenistan’s Dashoguz region completing preparations for wheat harvesting
Sumgait Technologies Park talks export of aluminum to Central Asia
Cargo transshipment from Greece via Turkish ports disclosed
State share of Kafolat Insurance Company sold in Uzbekistan
Azerbaijan's Central Bank talks problematic insurance companies
Uzbek Ipak Yuli Bank, EBRD increasing their support to entrepreneurs of Uzbekistan
Uzbek-Korean JV buys sockets, switches via tender
Bank loans on rise in Azerbaijan
Turkey, US trade turnover suffers drop in April 2020
Azerbaijani president opens newly renovated highway (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Turkmenistan evaluates new varieties of cotton
Net revenue of Kazakhstan's KazMunayGas plummets in 1Q2020
All news