Frozen in time

Reinterpreting Iranian Pop Art with a new set of values


Frozen in time
by ramintork

The two art series that I am submitting relate to the culture of Iran during the 70s pre-revolution. The series "When Iran Went Pop!" was created back in early 2010, and the second series "Minimalist posters for Iranian 70's TV Cinema Radio" I completed recently.

Despite their appearance and titles the two series (that are closely related) are two conceptual works of Art disguised as a pop art and a minimalist series.  I have used an Art school as a medium just as one might use tapestry or metal as mediums for conceptual work.

The two series one with 28 images and the other 30 are two individual installations and with their mix of cultural influences they can also be considered alter-modern.

In general my work deals with analysis of social and cultural issues, and the Art work is in some ways an Anthropological study of Iranian culture with emotional rather than scientific perspective. The social study aspect is a Key point, and I have done other series of works were typography has been used to convey social messages. I have also invented a new school called DaGod which is a derivative of Dada and the humour of Dadaism has been applied to protest against a new world war of religious fundamentalists. That work is for the future.

Why Pop Art? Pop Art as a retro school and its timing of creation and usage from mid-1950's in UK to late 1970's USA (when it more or less faded-out) somehow had a parallel to the events in Iran from the 1950's coup to the 1979 revolution.

In terms of tail signs of Iran's cultural shifts, i.e. the stretches and lack of elasticity of shifting from a rural tribal cultural, and the economic prosperity of 1970s, an age that transformed us to a modern city dwelling society the pop culture within the Cinema, music, TV, Radio reflect the moods and changes, and as a school of Art pop Art is a good school to represent these mass media aspects.

Where is the Art in found Internet images and using that as Pop Art?

Gilbert and George the popular British Artists once said that they started doing these large drawings and then they stopped because people liked them too much and it was getting in the way of the Art! I have oil paintings, prints and sculptures too, but for me the medium serves the Art and not the other way round, and in this case digital found objects served the purpose, bear in mind that the objective was not to show how masterful I can be in using Photoshop but to create works that speak a message and in some cases other than adding a title the image was left almost as it was found.

Taking the example of the work titled "When students try to hold guns, the guns try to hold the students" with an image from the film Gavanzha is a statement of the historical events where protest against a regime in the form of using guns brought about  a regime that would hold guns against students.

There is also an image of the late Shah looking very isolated in the last few seasons before he was deposed. The message there was "When he heard their voice, but they did not hear his" referring to the TV announcement from him saying I have heard your voice.

The second series "Minimalist posters for Iranian 70's TV Cinema radio" deals with transformation and what remains. Watching the changes that have taken in Iranian society, watching how as young teenagers I along many friends were transformed by diaspora I have taken an eye which was once Iranian and filtered by Western values and applied them to Nostalgic elements that still remain as part of memories of who I am. The significance of this series is that it can only be properly shared by those who have seen and felt the same as I have. For instance unless you have read the book or seen the TV series you would not know the significance of the clock pointing to quarter to three in the Daee Jan Napoleon poster.

That series is a celebration of an age which is no more. Why these works are conceptual? Because they advertise events in the past and by doing so they convey our feeling of loss.

It is like objects discovered in an abandoned ship, or a tomb. They are frozen in time, yet reinterpreted with a new set of values, by whatever values those who discover them hold.


Recently by ramintorkCommentsDate
Shamloo and T.S. Elliot
Sep 18, 2012
Aug 27, 2012
My very Iranian Art
Aug 21, 2012
more from ramintork