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Monnaie de Paris

Javad Montazeri
Javad Montazeri

Iran 1979 – 2009 : between hope and chaos

30 years of Iranian documentary photography

From 6/11/09 to 20/12/09
Artistic direction: Anahita Ghabaian Etehadieh
Curators: Bahman Jalali, Hasan Sarbakhshian

La Monnaie de Paris has chosen to show the three most recent generations of Iranian photographers between the 1979 Islamic Revolution and 2009.

According to the anti-chronological bias to their presentation in the exhibition – from the youngest to the oldest – these photographers offer us their views of the evolution of the social and individual complexities in a country marred by
conflicts: the internal conflict of the Revolution, the war with Iraq, disputes with the international community, conflicts between generations and between political sensibilities etc …

Influenced by the media, particularly foreign television and the internet, the young generation no longer gets together around themes of war or the Revolution, which were the tragic events which marked Iran in the 1970's and 1980's; it is interested, by contrast, in daily life, as shown in the intimist images of bedrooms or the young girl made up with mud who meets the reaction of passers-by.

The intermediary generation benefited from the political relaxation and the cultural opening put into place by the President of the Republic Mohammad Khatami, elected in 1997: numerous newspapers, both weekly and daily were then born, thus favouring the rise of photojournalism. The “Photographic Department of the University”, only created in the 1980's, largely contributed to the training of these photographers, more than 15,000 of whom have today qualified.

The oldest artists, whose work closes the exhibition, are, on the other hand, mostly self-taught. Their work, rooted in a difficult period in Iran's history remains a source of inspiration for the following generations. Their black and white war pictures have retained all their impact. Amongst these talents, Jahanguir Razmil won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for a political image which could have cost him his life; he is one of the first to have thus touched the rest of the world.

Nevertheless, the photographs of the exhibition were closely examined by the auto censure of the artists of whom more than half currently work with international photographic agencies: this bears witness to the persistent tensions in contemporary Iran's civil and political society. The current passion for contemporary Iranian photography by professionals shows its mastery, its sincerity and its sensitivity despite the restrictions of this auto censure.

Artists shown: Abbas Kowsari, Hasan Sarbakhshian, Ali Zare, Jamshid Bayrami, Mohammad Farnood, Omid Salehi, Javad Montazeri, Reza Moattarian, Majid Saeedi, Babak Bordbar, Mahbobeh Karamali, Mahdieh Moradi, Mastery Farahani,
Mohammad Kheirkhah, Newsha Tavakkolian, Laleh Sherkat, Ali Freidoni, Kaveh Kazemi, Amir ali Javadian, Tooraj Khamenehzadeh.


La Monnaie de Paris website