Monday, 6 March 2017
Interview with Mahmoud Bakhshi
Interview: Mahmoud Bakhshi
Mahmoud Bakhshi: The Unity of Time and Place
26 January - 11 March 2017
The date 19 August is a significant one in Iranian history. In 1953, it saw the coup d’état, which gave the shah increased power to rule more firmly as a monarch, and, in 1978, it was the date of the tragic Cinema Rex fire, in which estimates of between 400 and 800 citizens lost their lives, when the building in Abadan, southern Iran, was set on fire by Islamic militants during the screening of the controversial film, The Deers (Gavaznha in Persian), directed by Masoud Kimiai. As two camps of opinion laid blame for the fire either with Islamic fundamentalists, who opposed all forms of entertainment (and were later found responsible), or the shah’s secret police, who some thought started the fire with the aim of pointing the finger at the fundamentalists, this latter event is widely considered to have triggered the 1979 revolution.
For The Unity of Time and Place, his second exhibition at narrative projects, Mahmoud Bakhshi (b1977, Tehran) has created an immersive installation, recreating the interior of a 1970s cinema, and showing incisively collaged film footage from The Deers and an interview with Kimiai, on two screens, either side of the central dividing wall.
The project reflects a wider focus of artistic enquiry in Bakhshi’s practice into the role and responsibility of an artist and his work, particularly when dealing with, or responding to, sociopolitical currents.
Bakhshi studied for a BA in sculpture at the faculty of fine arts at the University of Tehran, and has since held residencies at the Delfina Foundation in London and the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam. His work was included in the National Pavilion of Iran at the 56th Venice Biennale and is held in collections worldwide, including Tate Modern, London; Doron Sebbag Art Collection, Tel Aviv; Devi Art Foundation, New Delhi; and the Thaddaeus Ropac Collection.
After his visa was denied at the last minute, and Bakhshi was unable to come to London to install his exhibition and attend the opening night, Studio International spoke to him in Tehran via Skype.
Read this interview here