[artinfo] Biennial Tehran CALL FOR ART 'Urban Jealousie'

Adele Eisenstein adele at c3.hu
Sat Apr 12 21:19:20 CEST 2008

e-artnow: 12.04.2008

Biennial Tehran CALL FOR ART 'Urban Jealousie'

                Contact: Amirali Ghasemi and Serhat Koksal
                <biennialtehran at gmail.com>


                1st station:
Istanbul, 30th May - 6th July 2008

Curated by Amirali Ghasemi and Serhat Koksal

Urban Jealousy
the 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran

30th May - 6th July 2008

Curated by Serhat koksal and Amirali Ghasemi

Deadline: Monday 21st of April
you can find text and application form ;

The theme of this biennial is URBAN JEALOUSY. A Jalousie * ("jealousy" in
French) is a window that one can see through but not be seen; barriers that
allow us to observe the world without being invited to the table. Iranian
artists are given an understanding of what goes on in the world without being
offered a single opportunity to communicate their thoughts-outside of our very
own jalousie window: a rigid ethnic frame within an extremely politicized context.

Of all the huge urban areas around the world, Tehran stands out as a different
kind of Megalopolis. It boasts one of the most dynamic art scenes in the
Middle East even as the city itself deals with a rudimentary public transport
system, an exploding population crisis, and an ever-increasing sprawl of mass
housing; An unsightly city of experimental architecture that swallows entire
villages and towns without offering them any sort of public services.

Despite its complicated urban situation-which according to experts has already
spiraled out of control-artists" societies in Tehran continue to hold numerous
biennials in semi-tribal fashion. A great number of these events are
government-sponsored projects whose outlook and also their premises can shift
180 degrees from one year to the next. Each community has its own set of
ceremonies, as a result of which, any sense of solidarity among the artists is

The Tehran Visual Arts Festival, The Calligraphy Biennial, The Sculpture
Biennial, The Cartoon Biennial, The Painting Biennial of the Islamic World,
The Graphic Design Biennial, The Children"s Books Illustration Biennial, The
Painting Biennial, The Poster Biennial, The Poster Biennial of the Islamic
World© the list is endless.

Although the legendary "TEHRAN BIENNIAL" goes back 50 years, not a single one
of the above-mentioned events can be considered a biennial by prevailing and
accepted international standards".  An arts society recently published a call
to boycott the upcoming Painting Biennial in order to demand a professionally
curated exhibition, protesting the open call process and a "jury" they deemed

It seems impossible to have a proper Tehran biennial in Tehran, so our
sprawling city and its elitist art scene remain excluded from the highly
competitive art market in the region despite being surrounded from all sides
by lucrative biennials and auctions. We may have great artists living and
working in Iran, but we don"t have a chance to share the profits.

Tehran, as one may suppose, does not seem interested in presenting itself as a
desirable destination for cultural tourism, by playing it "cool" like other
global cities, or scramble to be hip by coughing up the membership dues to be
in the international art market.

So, to jumpstart the process, and after a long discussion with my friend,
Serhat Koksal - a critic of the global biennialization process - we decided to
curate a "mini", on the move, Tehran biennial. To not only stop complaining
about the current situation but to benefit from the advantages of it. An
independent, low- budget, traveling exhibition which can be presented almost
anywhere. We will travel like nomads, carrying artwork, objects, texts, and
whatever, in a package no bigger than a medium-sized suitcase, preferably
weighing less than 20 Kg., so it can be carried on any cheap flight.

Urban Jealousy will end its journey in May 2010,but Tehran"s Roaming Biennial
will carry on.Feb 2008


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