Second Rybon International Artists' Workshop

Rybon, the Boundless Feast
On the Second Rybon International Artists’ Workshop

10 - 25 November 2016 - Tehran, Iran
In Collaboration with Kooshk Residency and deegar Platform

Open Day:
25 November 2016

An international, independent and artist-led institute based in Tehran, Rybon Art Center hosted the second Rybon international artists’ workshop. The program started on November 10th with Lynn Kodeih from Lebanon, Nicene Kossentini from Tunisia, Maria Kapajeva from Estonia, Wojciech Gilewicz from Poland, and Irfan Hasan from Pakistan, as well as Mojtaba Tabatabaie, Neda Razavipour, Mojtaba Amini, Seyed Amin Bagheri, and Nastaran Safaie, and lasted until November 25th.

The program started off with an opportunity for the participants to get acquainted. For accustoming foreign artists to the cultural and artistic milieu of Tehran, the next two days was dedicated to the visiting of galleries, bookstores, and museums. In light of the fact that the idea of this model of workshops is mainly based on maximization of interaction and dialogue between the artists, some hours were allotted to introducing the artists. During these sessions, each of the artists talked about their artistic backgrounds, sharing their mentalities and experiences, which facilitated the process of the artists knowing each other’s artistic behaviors, sowing the seeds of collaboration. In the meantime, they chose their desired studios in deegar platform—one of the partners of the program that provided the work-space for the artists for this year’s workshop. The platform had 5 studios and other work-spaces, each of which were selected according to what the artists’ techniques necessitated. Two to three artists started to work simultaneously in each studio. Rybon’s team put its best effort into making the air ripe for dialogue and interchange of ideas, so that the artists would come to a decision on their final concept. Of course, the interaction itself was far more important than the end results. So nothing hampered the cordial conversations. The exploration of Tehran and the Persian world led the artists to choose cultural subject-matters related to Tehran, whether directly or subtly. This, to a large degree, is related to the artists’ techniques and behavior, because, after all, it is they who have to find their orientation during the two weeks.

Two panel discussions were also scheduled. One were dedicated to a review of the 2012 workshop, for which Iranian artists of the previous program were invited. In the session, Hamed Jaberha interviewed Katayoun Karami, Mahmoud Mahroumi, Hamed Rashtian, Babak Kazemi, and Pooneh Oshidari, on the experience of the previous workshop and its impacts, which was very significant for the Rybon team and the artists of this year’s program. The second session, however, was about the idea of this model of workshops. It was held with the presence of Sohrab Mahdavi, Tehran based art critic, Alessio Antoniolli, Director of Gasworks & Triangle Network, Janan Nozari, one of the coordinators of this year’s program, and Hamed Jaberha, who hosted the session. The presence of Antoniolli, with regards to his management experiences in the Triangle Network, and also his involvement in holding workshops with the same theme in various locations in the world, was particularly valuable, for he answered many questions about the program and its model, masking the session a challenging one, which took three hours’ worth of intense dialogue.

The second week was an open studio: the audience could come to deegar platform, getting to know the artists, exploring the process of their works, and asking questions. At the end of the two weeks, one final day was scheduled for the program, during which the doors of the studios were open for seven hours, so that many enthusiasts could come in and appreciate the program and deegar platform.

The frosty Friday of Tehran had special guests, though. Lecturers and participants of Res Artis meeting, held simultaneously with the program in three intense days, dedicated their last hours in Tehran to the visiting of art events. Due to the fact that the artists needed time and a space in which they could concentrate on their works, it was not possible for people to come and watch them at work, so this final day was a good opportunity to invite artists, journalists, and critics to get to know the program and its artists.

The program met Rybon’s expectations in every way. As a matter of fact, holing such programs in two weeks is a risky business, especially when the invited artists are chosen from a variety of disciplines, ages, experiences, nationalities, and from a much larger list. One of the most essential factors of the selection and invitation, is the experience of the artists, which means the organizing team has to expect the worst case scenarios in terms of challenges and probable mishaps. The Rybon team did its best to get the most desirable outcome. Moreover, Kooshk Residency provided the artists with a proper living space, which was crucial to the program. The cultural section of Polish embassy in Tehran and Cooler Gallery documentation team also provided assistance in the process of realizing the program. Meanwhile, carpets, traditional musical instruments, music albums, and Persian books were as happy as we were, as the program concluded with a smile of satisfaction, making the farewell a little less difficult. Next wish: the third program. The program was coordinated by Hamed Jaberha, Negin Mahzoun and Janan Nozari.

By Hamed Jaberha

05 Dec 2016

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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