Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Exhibition of Video Art Works Co-produced by Factory TT

18-22 February 2022
Aria Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran Aria Gallery & Art Classes  Aria Art Gallery n& Art-classes

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Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

A Project by Shahram Entekhabi

Curated by Asieh Salimian Asieh Salimian Homepage  Asieh Salimian Instagram

Participaiting artists: Daayanna Abdolali Zadeh ; Mozhgan Bavaki ; Behnaz Monfared ; Mona Rahnemay Helali ; Hediyeh Sadeghi and Sanaz Sedighy

Factory TT's Video Art Collection Factory TT's Video Art Collection (Instagram)

Six artists from different cities, who are inspired by the contemporary living conditions in Iran and the realities of life there, are invited to an exhibition of their works created in the workshop From Idea to Exhibition held in December 2021 at the Aria School. The exhibition, titled 'Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining,' is presented as the result of the workshop organized by Factory TT. The workshops include an art-history section in which participants explore contemporary art and key works from the international history of video art, and a practical part that introduces them to the basics of producing a video art work. In general, the development of a concept for storytelling and film expresses the post-production stages and the layout and presentation to the audience. Since the participants in the workshop are exclusively female artists, they are well-aware of the necessity and benefits of using the media, and they have used it in the production of their works. This can be described as an advantage, an internal consistency, and a historical necessity.

It is a historical fact that in the early stages of the formation of video art in the 1970s, this medium was discovered by female artists. They took advantage of the fact that the first video cameras were portable, could record sound and images simultaneously, and with the help of a monitor attached to the camera, enabled immediate viewing of the recorded image. This shows that video media is fundamentally different from film because film could only be produced through the cooperation of a team: Image and sound were recorded separately, and the film material had to be developed in a laboratory before it could be viewed by the filmmaker. Thus, the history of art in relation to video speaks of the great process of independence in the field of moving images.
It is important for Entekhabi and Salimian, who are well acquainted with the early stages of feminist video art, to introduce the younger generation of Iranian artists to the possibilities of moving images, to answer questions about gender maps, and to promote their observations of social and historical issues and the promotion of media art processes. The works produced by the artists in this project are related to the reality of life in contemporary Iran. They reflect various themes in which women often appear as protagonists. Observations of life with a focus on everyday life, historical references, the lives of religious minorities, traditional gender maps, or body-related "auctions" through the sale of organs, as well as the widespread habit of changing the face and body through plastic surgery. It also states that egalitarian forces and the ubiquitous capitalist beauty industry are a threat to everyone. Sometimes it refers to a journey into the past and history and to the fact that there is no way to revive the past, but the hope of building a future remains strong.
Aria Gallery and Aria School have been operating since 1992, and they are pioneers of post-revolutionary teaching of contemporary art and art criticism in Iran. The works in this exhibition were reviewed and selected by Kathrin Becker, a Berlin-based curator and author who worked as a curator and head of n.b.k. Video-Forum of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein from 2001 to 2019, and as the artistic director of KINDL (Centre for Contemporary Art, Berlin) from February 2020. The exhibition 'Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining,' with the supervision and guidance of Shahram Entekhabi and curated by Asieh Salimian, will be held at Aria Gallery from February 18 to 22, 2022.February 2022 .

This exhibition is in line with the activities of the Factory TT Platform in recent years, aiming to hold exhibitions of works by young artists in Iran and Europe and to invite foreign artists to Iran to exhibit their work. It also aims to challenge 'blind spots,' work towards a change in perspective, and try to take a new approach to contemporary art in Iran. The concept of transculturality is our guideline: it sketches a different picture of the relationships between cultures, not one of isolation or conflict, but one of entanglement, intermingling, and commonality. The teaching of this workshop, undertaken by Shahram Entekhabi, is not his first teaching experience in Iran but includes his long experience of teaching in different countries. As his work is influenced by international issues, his educational activities also involve cultural exchanges between the art fields of Iran and Europe, especially Germany, where he actively participates in the Berlin art scene.

As an artist living and working in Berlin, he has exhibited his work internationally and earned a reputation and a place for himself. He brings to his seminars and workshops what he has seen, read, and discussed throughout his long career. The exhibition 'Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining' is based on his teaching activity and, above all, on his observations that despite the rich tradition of film in Iran, there are few possibilities in the field of video art. Also, little information about the history of video art and rare opportunities for showing and producing are available in the country. Shahram Entekhabi and Asieh Salimian have held exhibitions in recent years that exclusively showcase video art. For example, the Upgrade exhibition, held in September 2017 at the Mahe Mehr Gallery, and the My Very First Time exhibition, held at the Ace Gallery in June and July 2016. One of our major goals at Factory TT is to expand the Factory TT Video Art Collection, which is an archive of historical Iranian video art and contemporary productions, both at home and abroad, which may have received less attention in the historiography of contemporary Iranian art.

The Factory TT Video Art Collection is an online video archive that gives moving images a fixed position and provides background information to visitors. It focuses on feminist activities, ecology and the environment, media influences, and video performances. Another activity of Factory TT is the institutional critique of the structures in charge of the contemporary Iranian art scene and its defined places. An example of these critical activities is the implementation of the site-specific exhibition 'City of Tales' and the presentation of works within that context using a variety of techniques and media, curated by Asieh Salimian on May 7th and 8th, 2016, in Tehran.

Questions can be asked using these artistic phenomena, which indicate new actions to understand social concerns, including the abuse of power, injustice, exploitation, and related issues. In general, site-specific exhibitions bring together art commissioners, curators, and artists in public spaces to catalyze the impact of their work in the public sphere, in communities and cities, and to discuss how they can provide opportunities for rethinking, reviving, and revisiting the future civic landscape. Here, we should mention the Tabdil/Tolid ARDABIL (Conversion/Production ARDABIL) project, the First Performance and Environmental Art Festival in Ardabil, Iran. One of the latest activities of Factory TT is the Pass virtual exhibition, held in Tehran from July to September 2021.

Mozhgan Bavaki has a diploma in Ceramics and a bachelor's degree in Graphic Design. She is a member of the Iranian Pottery Artists Association and has expressed her concerns about social issues by attending two Iranian ceramic biennials and participating in several group art exhibitions and festivals with a contemporary art approach. In her video, 'Strict Constraint,' she explores the significance of hands in human communication. The performance focuses on two hands in front of the camera, representing the hosts or heroes of these dialogues. The artist questions pre-defined gender roles that have persisted from the Stone Age until today, where men are associated with hunting and women with gathering and child-rearing. This video highlights the traditional division of roles, with the man as the breadwinner and provider, and the woman as the housewife, mother, and wife. The video showcases a male hand and a female hand in different positions, engaging in various activities. Sometimes the male hand adopts traditionally feminine features, such as painted nails, while other times it challenges gender stereotypes by performing activities typically associated with the opposite gender, such as cleaning vegetables, embroidering, or using boxing gloves. The video conversations, presented by a man and a woman, continue to reflect traditional gender stereotypes and patterns.

Mona Rahnemay Helali holds a bachelor's degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology and a master's degree in Genetics. She is a multimedia artist renowned for exploring social and critical themes through photography, sculpture, and installation. Her work has been featured in over twenty prestigious group exhibitions, both domestically and internationally. Mona's art revolves around the collection of advertisements, billboards, and posters found in public spaces, which she considers as 'pollution' that hinders our ability to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings. These ads are detrimental alterations to urban and suburban environments and often exploit the human body and commodify it. Some ads promote the sale and purchase of human kidneys, offer services for non-consensual divorce, encourage the consumption of decorative and luxury goods, or advertise plastic surgery, Botox injections, and liposuction. In her video, Mona wears headphones and listens to various slogans from influencers and advertisements. While hearing these messages, she paints them on the wall, akin to graffiti artists. The artist continuously writes the texts on the wall until they merge and overlap, rendering them increasingly unreadable. The resulting palimpsests, composed of a multitude of advertising messages, convey the artist's critique of the neoliberal reality and the marketing of individuals and economic entities for profit. The video concludes with the protagonist's gesture of withdrawal and exhaustion, symbolizing her discontent with the ongoing cycle.

Hediyeh Sadeghi holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Metallurgical Engineering. Additionally, she has freely offered theoretical courses in Philosophy, Art, and Painting and has exhibited her works in five group exhibitions so far. Through her works, Hediyeh seeks to find a way to grasp the meaning and concept of life. By exploring her surroundings and lived experiences, she emphasizes the importance of moments, meditates on them, and strives to perceive her true self. In her video, 'Finished/Unfinished,' she delves into everyday life as a key concept in cultural and sociological studies. By reflecting on and depicting everyday life, she is motivated by the derogatory effects of capitalism and industrialism on human existence and perception. The artist draws references from everyday life in ancient Greece, medieval Christianity, and the Enlightenment period. A repetitive view of everyday life is often seen as negative and distinct from exceptional moments due to its indistinguishability. It is perceived as the necessary and obvious continuation of worldly activities and represents the inundation of more introspective experiences. Through scenes of brushing, eating, and turning lights on and off, Hediyeh Sadeghi depicts the moments of life that give purpose to all human endeavors, accompanied by scattered inner monologues about today.

Sanaz Sedighy has completed her studies in Sculpture and New and Interdisciplinary Media in Iran and Italy, and has participated in numerous group events and exhibitions in Italy. Currently, she works in visual art, interdisciplinary arts, and applied ceramics. In her video, 'Shahroud, 29 Esfand Ave. No. 23,' the protagonist, portrayed by the artist herself, takes the viewer on a journey that begins in a small town. Having spent her childhood in Tehran and her youth and educational years in Florence, Sedighy takes us back to her grandmother's house in the small town of Shahroud. In the video, Sanaz depicts the process of revisiting the past, yearning for the future, and searching for a new beginning. She stumbles upon a house being demolished, gradually vanishing, realizing that returning is impossible. Sanaz Sedighy simultaneously travels to the past and moves forward to the future, inviting the audience to share a deeply emotional experience of longing. Throughout this journey, the artist and the audience focus on significant social connections and personally meaningful events, evoking a nostalgic sentiment.

Daayanna Abdolali Zadeh holds a master's degree in Architectural Engineering and works as an architect with a research practice based in Tehran. Additionally, she produces works in photography and painting. The video 'An Unsung Anthem' can be described as a 'search for the past' and a cinematic journey to uncover the past: 'We are all the product of our past and our parents and grandparents.' In the film, she follows the footsteps of a girl she saw in a photo on a tombstone in an Armenian cemetery, seeking to answer the question of how she would deal with such a past. Through the film, she follows an unknown person living in a house that has always evoked a strange feeling in her. Contemplating who this person is leads Daayanna Abdolali Zadeh to delve into the history of a house about which she possesses limited information. It becomes a journey into parallel worlds and closed rooms, a sacred space where she situates herself elsewhere, creating a new story that is poetic and symbolic. The camera accompanies Abdolali Zadeh in her search for her roots through tranquil imagery. The scenes form a bridge upon which the artist walks, goes about daily activities, and recalls or imagines. Daayanna does not aim to provide definitive answers but rather, by creating a space for reflection, she invites the viewer to embark on a journey of exploration.

Behnaz Monfared is a graphic designer, illustrator, and peace activist. Through her participation in prestigious solo and group exhibitions both domestically and internationally (including Netherlands, Austria, and Serbia), she shares her concerns of recent years regarding peace, war, and chemical weapons. In most of her projects, she explores how women find hope in challenging situations such as war. Behnaz Monfared seeks to portray peace and hope through her artworks, utilizing various techniques. She believes that each technique can express a different facet of the subject matter. She aims to focus more intensely on the theme of 'inner peace' in her future projects. In her video 'Hiwa,' she addresses a catastrophe that is rarely discussed in Iran: Explosions do not always result in death, but they can cause severe health damage, such as blindness, skin burns, or adverse effects on the fetus. Some chemical weapons contaminate the environment to such an extent that their long-term effects on humans can hardly be denied. The use of chemical weapons in warfare has been known since ancient times. In the past, incendiary substances such as oil and Greek fire, or later on a smaller scale, chemical toxins such as arsenic, were employed. The Spartans used incendiary devices that led to high concentrations of sulfur dioxide in the air. In her video 'Hiwa,' Behnaz Monfared discusses the enduring consequences and effects of chemical weapons as she visits chemically affected areas and engages in conversations with survivors of chemical accidents. She acquaints us with a world in which millions of people have been victims of chemical attacks. Despite receiving treatment, the victims continue to live with the long-term consequences and effects for the rest of their lives.

Asieh Salimian,
February 2022