Exchange Program (Iran – China)

With the collaboration of Rybon Art Center, Mohsen Gallery and Organhaus Art Space, a dialogue based international exchange program was organized between Iran and China. The program was contained of two parts. The first one was held from 1st to 20th September, 2013 in Tehran and the second part took place in Chongqing in April, 2014. Wang Haichuan and Shanyang (Liao Wenchao) from China and Sara Abri and Mehrdad Naraghi from Iran were the four selected artists who participated in both sides of this program. In the first round, artists happened to simultaneously choose the elements in the other country, discussing the comparisons and differences based on conversation, observation and imagination.

Yet in the first round Iran was in the spotlight, while this time at Organhaus, China has naturally been on the stage. In the first round, Wang Haichuan and Shanyang both put forward their doubts concerning Iran’s special religious and political background (theocracy). Wang Haichuan’s metaphorical and implicit work “Hush” and Shanyang’s imaginative work “Rainbow” both emphasized and supposed or attempted to discuss, in other words, the impression on Iran that is misunderstood and fragmentary. Similarly, during this comparative conversation, the works from two Iranian artists were much more profound and trenchant because of concentration on the social context they were in. The public telephone service was made by Sara Abri to highlight privacy, publicity as well as female identity while Mehrdad Naraghi memorized the “Tian An Men” event happened in China, through which he implicitly built the monument for the Iranian protesters died in the suppressed demonstrations.

The scene at Organhaus, April, 2014, was considered as a rotation, in which not only the time and space shifted, but also the following conversational fulcrum. In this live, two Iranian artists became the observers who could understand and express China by observing the rapidly developed city, the daily life and the historical landscape of this country, after what these elements were demonstrated in their final masterpieces. The traditional Chinese landscape painting, the cattail leaf fan (reflection of daily life) and the urbanized views were their final selection and topics when it came to the description of contemporary Chinese livelihood.

The start-up of the Organhaus-Rybon Exchange Residency Program meant that a new conversational avenue has been established in a constant and gradual manner. The basic thinking point is how to handle and strengthen the artistic interactions with surrounding countries, which will fulfill and enhance our reaction, judgment and thinking on our personal identity and standing point. Raising our imagination by comparative dialogue, analyzing and dusting ourselves off by working and further inspecting in another place are the most effective approaches to rebuild and clear ourselves. This kind of Exchange Program later was continued in Kooshk Residency by collaboration of Kooshk with worldwide cultural institutes and residency spaces.

15 May 2014

As an international, nonpolitical, autonomous initiative, Rybon Art Center aims to promote innovation and experimentation of art among established and emerging artists and to explore the possibilities of exchanging ideas and knowledge across ethnic, regional and artistic borders.

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