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This book offers a rich visual and analytical account of artistic practices in Iran and its diaspora during the last three decades.

Rethinking the Contemporary Art of Iran seeks to articulate an alternative narrative of Iranian art in recent times, diverging from the prevalent portrayals often found in publications derived from exhibitions or collections in Western Europe and North America. It also steers away from the prevailing trend-setting schemes within the art world, particularly those attempting to “define” what qualifies as “contemporary Iranian art.” Its primary aim is to portray the contemporary art of Iran, embracing a diverse range of cultural expressions, each contributing to a vibrant mosaic that represents the multifaceted realities of the country – realities frequently overlooked in recent publications. The book highlights how this richness finds its most vivid expression in the works of emerging artists from both Iran and its diaspora over the past few decades. The same criteria apply to artists from earlier generations featured in the book. The selection is guided by a priority placed on those artists whose work, despite its significant merit in addressing previously unexplored facets of the art of Iran, has seldom been presented in recent exhibitions and publications.

The book comprises three essays that aim to provide multiple perspectives on contemporaneity, plurality and historical context, offering extensive insights into contemporary art practices both within Iran and among the diasporas. The second section encompasses about 400 works by artists, accompanied by texts elaborating on their oeuvre and the pieces depicted in the book. This section is organised into three distinct categories, “Societal and Cultural Resonance,” “Fantastical Visions,” and “Echoes of History,” each focusing on a specific artistic approach. Furthermore, the book provides biographies of the artists, a general bibliography and an index of artists.

Rethinking the Contemporary Art of Iran | by Hamid Keshmirshekan (Editor)

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  • This book offers a rich visual and analytical account of artistic practices in Iran and its diaspora during the last three decades.

    The book Rethinking the Contemporary Art of Iran involves an extensive range of artists working in a variety of media, with more attention paid to the younger generation who have been under-represented in recent publications and those whose work signifies the contemporary. The book includes three comprehensive essays which frame “contemporary” Iranian art, contextualising the visual materials collected in the subsequent sections. The texts offer multiple perspectives on contemporaneity, plurality, and history together with extensive ideas about contemporary art practices in Iran and its diaspora. They are followed by sections on individual artists including more tham 450 colour images. Each section is accompanied by texts commenting on the artists’ oeuvre as a whole and the single works appearing on the pages. The volume ends with the artists’ biographies, a general bibliography, and an index.

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