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Iran Arts and Events Calendar

02 Sep 2011 03:25Comments
OutOfTehranAbbasFull.jpgHereComesTheSunrise.jpg
Monica Maggioni's "Out of Tehran," at the Venice International Film Festival. "Here Comes the Sunrise" (2009) by Ramin Haerizadeh, ABC Art Berlin Contemporary participant. (Homepage: "Poulet aux prunes.")

PERFORMING ARTS

Out of Tehran, a new documentary by Monica Maggioni, screens at the 68th VENICE International Film Festival's Sala Grande and Sala Pasinetti. Out of Tehran tells the story of three young people and a teacher who left Iran after it became impossible for them to lead ordinary lives in their homeland: Ebrahim was a blogger, Hussein worked in television, Narges was a documentary filmmaker, and Abbas was a university lecturer in economics. Maggioni describes the sentiments all four share:

There is a totally Iranian way of shouting under your breath. There is a totally Iranian way of searching for poetic words to describe the worst violence, the most ignoble torture. Abbas, Ebrahim, Hussein, and Narges are the protagonists of a story in which this "Iranian way" has the power to accuse the regime of its acts. They are four people who are exiled for having ideas and for wanting to talk about normal things in a country where the regime seems to have stopped even pretending it is normal. Their difficult and dignified journey has taken them across the snowy mountains of Kurdistan, infested with Iranian spies and double agents, to the heart of Europe where many Iranians try to create a new existence with just one thought in mind: to get back home.

The film is presented as part of the festival's Controcampo Italiano section and will be competing for the Controcampo Doc Award. September 2 and 9. more...

The festival's main competition features the world premiere of Poulet aux prunes, co-directed and -written by Marjane Satrapi -- author and director of Persepolis -- and Vincent Paronnaud. The film, set centrally in 1950s Tehran and starring Mathieu Amalric, Maria De Medeiros, Golshifteh Farahani, Isabella Rossellini, and Chiara Mastroianni, tells the story of Nasser Ali Khan, a renowned violin player, and what happens when his most beloved instrument is broken. In Satrapi's words,

Under its romantic allure, this film is conceived as a thriller with flashbacks and flash forwards which shed light on Nasser's personality and the reasons for his despair. Death is used as a springboard to talk about life.

The central themes of our film are the complexities of the world and the mysteries of the human soul. That's why this film can jump registers from dramatic to comic to heartbreaking because life is exactly like that. What interests us is not whether Nasser will die nor how but why.

Persepolis tells the story of a family caught in the torments of war and revolution between 1974 and 1994. Poulet aux prunes covers the history of this same family between 1930 and 1990.

Poulet aux prunes screens at the Sala Grande and the PalaBiennale. September 3 and 4. more...

The Fourth Annual Iranian Film Festival -- SAN FRANCISCO takes place at the San Francisco Art Institute. A showcase for independent motion pictures made by or about Iranians from around the world, the festival will include three new feature-length dramatic films: Flamingo No. 13, directed by Hamid Reza Aligholian; David, directed by Joel Fendelman; and The Other, directed by Mehdi Rahmani. Four recent documentary features will also be presented: Zurkhaneh -- The House of Strength, directed by Federico Spinetti; Bonjour Monsieur Ghaffari, directed by Parviz Jahed; My Iranian Paradise, directed by Annette Mari Olsen and Katia Forbert Petersen; and I Was Worth 50 Sheep, directed by Nima Sarvestani.

Four rarely seen classics will screen as well: Brick and Mirror (1965), directed by Ebrahim Golestan; Iran (1971), directed by Claude LeLouch; Crossroads of Civilization (1976), directed by Anthony Mayer; and À propos de Nice, la suite (1995), an anthology in homage of Jean Vigo's groundbreaking 1930 film, with a segment directed by Abbas Kiarostami and Parviz Kimiavi. The festival will also present over two dozen shorts, including The Accordion, directed last year by Jafar Panahi before he was banned from filmmaking. September 10-11. film descriptions and more...

"We have no idea how good or bad we are -- we've just been playing in Iran." That's what Hypernova's lead singer and songwriter, Raam, acknowledged to a crowd at a bar gig four years ago on New York City's Lower East Side. Now the indie rock band is about to record its second album and will be headlining at the famous Troubador club in LOS ANGELES. "Vive La Resistance," from their debut, Through the Chaos, sums up the motivation behind their music: "The boys, they're shouting, and the girls, they are dancing, and it ain't no f****** crime!" September 16. more...

The trio Niyaz, featuring vocalist Azam Ali, bring their striking blend of trance electronica and dance music from around the globe with centuries-old Persian folk songs to Yoshi's OAKLAND. Drawing on medieval Persian poetry and Sufi mystical traditions, Ali, multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian, and producer Carmen Rizzo create a sound all their own -- the singer describes what binds the disparate elements of their style together: "The common thread is putting yourself in a higher state. Even with club music, I think that's what people go to it for. The only problem was that it was void of 'soul,' the spirit of acoustic trance music. We always felt there was a way to bring the two together that blurs the line between the acoustic and the electronic." Their Nine Heavens displays Niyaz's range -- one of its two CDs is entirely acoustic. September 17. tickets and more...

Mohammad Rasoulof's masterpiece The White Meadows (Keshtzarhaye Sepid) screens at the Cornell Cinema in ITHACA, New York. In this beautiful and staggering film, Rahmat, a professional collector of tears, makes his way across the placid waters and otherworldly salt islands of Lake Orumieh from one isolate community to the next. Attending on grief of myriad shades, he raises a small glass vial to the cheeks of the bereaved. The derivative he transfers to a large stoppered bottle, slowly filling with liquid sorrow. Rasoulof -- recently sentenced to six years in prison -- lifts the ageless mirror of myth to reflect on the deepest truths of his homeland today. September 15, 17, and 19. more...

MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

Two Dubai galleries that specialize in contemporary Middle Eastern art will showcase works by the Iranian artists Abbas Akhavan, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Ramin Haerizadeh at the annual ABC Art BERLIN Contemporary exhibition, whose theme this year is "About Painting."

Third Line Gallery will display paintings by Akhavan, who has resided in Canada since 1992. Akhavan's paintings are informed by his work in various other media, including installation art, video/performance, and site-specific ephemeral work. For the past half-decade, much of his work has focused on the domestic realm, most recently on spaces just outside the home -- the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated outdoor spaces.

Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde will present work by the Haerizadeh brothers, who both reside in Dubai. The dual presentation is titled Non-Collaborative Collaboration "XXXXXXXX". Ramin creates densely textured images that explore the complex, fractured collective psyche of modern-day Iran with an icy wit. His own physical presence often plays a pivotal role in his work, distorted and introduced into grotesque tableaux that skewer his subjects with mordant, merciless humor. Employing gesso and watercolor, Rokni cunningly violates found media images depicting human suffering and transforms them, sometimes unrecognizably, into imaginary fairytales: outlandish, farcical, satiric, and bitter.

The annual ABC art show is being held this year at the Station-Berlin. September 7-11. more...

"Retrospectives are best done when the photographer is dead...or so I thought until the National Museum of Singapore suggested I have one," the celebrated Iranian photographer Abbas says of the new career-spanning exhibit of his work. "For almost 45 years I have roamed the world, in search of images of upheaval; initially political and social, then later, religious." He adds, "Let's just consider this retrospective (with some modesty -- who knows how many more years I shall roam?) The First 45 Years." In conjunction with Abbas, 45 Years in Photography, the SINGAPORE museum is also holding a "Life in Action" Photography Competition. Through September 18. more...

The work of the ten artists and designers shortlisted for the Jameel Prize 2011, to be awarded September 12, will be showcased at LONDON's Victoria and Albert Museum. The Jameel Prize, launched in 2009, is a £25,000 international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design. Of the ten shortlisted out of nearly 200 nominees, five are from Iran or of Iranian heritage. Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's Birds of Paradise demonstrates her distinctive style of adapting and combining Iranian traditions of mirror mosaic and reverse glass painting techniques with a modern aesthetic. Bita Ghezelayagh's Felt Memories series is inspired by the Islamic tradition of talismanic coats, worn to protect the wearer from misfortune. She creates a new visual language, using metal keys, crowns, tulips (symbols of martyrdom), machine guns, and other street symbols along with printed Persian phrases to cover the surface of her pieces.

In his multidisciplinary work, Babak Golkar examines sociocultural issues experienced from living in both the Middle East and Canada. His Negotiating the Space for Possible Coexistences No.5 is part of a series that uses Persian carpet patterns as blueprints for architectural scale models. The titles of Hadieh Shafie's new 22500 and 26000 Pages refer to the number of paper strips with which the respective scroll ensembles are composed. Each scroll is marked with printed and handwritten Farsi, the concentric forms of both text and material taking their inspiration from the dance of the dervishes. In the digital collages Frolicking Women in the Pool and Fashion Week, Soody Sharifi enlarges scans of traditional Persian miniature paintings and interjects them with her own photographs to create layered, evocative narratives. Through September 25. more...

Leila Pazooki is one of the 11 international artists whose work is featured in the See the Light exhibition at Espace Louis Vuitton in HONG KONG. Pazooki's work explores the aesthetics of context, revealing the creative force that can emerge both from working within and transcending various moral, religious, and ideological frameworks. In her See the Light piece, she sets art world buzzphrases -- which may or not be hypothetical -- to glow and fade as an ironic comment on fashion and fame. Through October. more...

OtherIS presents the public video art project TVDinner, starting at Immigrant Movement International in QUEENS, New York. Curator Sandra Skurvida (Iran and Iraq) worked with cocurators Amirali Ghasemi (Iran), Sohrab Kashani (Iran), Shireen Naziree (Burma), Lena Prents (Belarus), and Aneta Szylak and Hiwa K. (Iraqi Kurdistan) to bring together videos from countries sanctioned by the United States. TVDinner draws from BBCCCIILNSSSZ/////, a database of video art from and about U.S.-sanctioned countries that succeeds the SanctionedArray project produced in response to restrictions of video submissions to the Guggenheim Museum and YouTubeʼs Play biennial in 2010.

The featured artists include Sherko Abbas, Erfan Abdi, Mehrdad Afsari, Tara Najd Ahmadi, Mojtaba Amini, Bahar Behbahani, Negar Behbahani, Wafaa Bilal, Nisrine Boukhari, Skirwan Can, caraballo-farman, Anna Chkolnikova, Gohar Dashti, Samira Eskandarfar, Shirwan Fatih, Amirali Ghasemi, Haleh Ghasemi, Ghazaleh Hedayat, Farid Jafari Samarghandi, Hiwa K., Poshya Kakil, Behnam Kamrani, Simin Keramati, Khosro Khosravi, Htein Lin, Rozhgar Mahmud Mustafa, Marina Naprushkina, Nosrat Nosratian, Nassrin Nasser, Aliyar Rasti, Horen Gharib Rauf, Neda Razavipoor, Shirin Sabahi, Sona Safaei, Niyaz Saghari, Hamed Sahihi, Larissa Sansour, Rozita Sharafjahan, Chaw Ei Thein, and Maxim Tyminko. TVDinner will continue around New York City at cafés and restaurants associated with the represented countries. At various venues through November 30. more...

ET CETERA

Registration is now open for the NIAC 2011 Leadership Conference, to be held in WASHINGTON, D.C., October 2-4. Panels will include "U.S./Iran Relations: Opportunities & Setbacks from the Washington Insider's Perspective," "Iranian Americans' Role in the United States," and "Behind-the-Scenes Decision Makers." There will be workshops on "How to Build Power Through Community Organizing" and "Advocacy: How to be Effective and Efficient" and the opportunity to meet face-to-face with representatives on Capitol Hill. The conference is limited to members of the National Iranian American Council, so nonmembers interested in participating should join up here. $75 registration deadline: September 2 (higher rate afterward). more...

Email your arts listings to info@tehranbureau.com.

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