Barbad Golshiri is an artist whose practice is prolific and wide-ranging—extending from photography and sculpture to installation, films, and critical writing. Central to some of his recent pieces is the examination of how media is used and how it manipulates the regime and its masses in his homeland of Iran.
Golshiri earned his BA in painting at Azad University’s School of Art and Architecture and won third prize in the 6th Tehran Contemporary painting Biennial at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Golshiri has had numerous solo and group exhibitions, some of which include: Curriculum Mortis, Thomas Erben Gallery, NY (2013); A Twenty-One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Four Minutes Unworsenable Aplastic, Götenborg Konstmuseum, Sweden (solo with Francis Bacon) (2009); THE OTHER, Azad Gallery, Tehran (2007); and Light Art and Video Works of Art, Golestan Gallery, Tehran (2002).
Signs of Tyranny
You can see the signs, first signs of tyranny in how they buried the first corpses, those that they executed right after the revolution. And because the massacres started from the rooftop of Rafaf School and those that were executed, the bodies were taken to the same cemetery. So the history of contemporary Iran, I think, deals with the politics of hallowed grounds. So if you want to see how they treat Baha’is for instance, you should visit their cemeteries. If you want to see how they treat leftists who helped the revolution a lot, you should visit their burial places …“Land of Damnation.” So there are Bahais, Leftists, Mujahideens, even Hindus, so it’s a heterotopia. It’s a Land of Others, …It’s a place for blasphemers. …So the whole history, the whole history of Iran is engraved in cemeteries.
Crime in Iran
It was called “Disturbing Public Opinion”. And disturbing public opinion is a crime in Iran so they can arrest you for disturbing public opinion, which is a vague thing and because art and thought, I think, are supposed to disturb public opinion. Otherwise, what would they do? Just follow the public opinion? And there were tons of artists who had created anything that would disturb public opinion in different ways. One was disturbing public opinion as a charge as the regime sees it. …The third criterion was disturbing public opinion as putting the audience in exile. So many other exhibitions had simplified sociopolitical dilemmas.
Kobani, for instance, could remain a Kurdish matter because during the Green Movement, there was nearly no demonstration in the Iranian Kurdistan. And so this was the first time that there were demonstrations for Kobani all across the country in major cities at least and not just Kurdistan. Tehran was the first city to hold a demonstration for Kobani, and it was a risky thing to do. Of course, it was against ISIS but the Kurdish Peshmerga are leftists, so there were flags even with stars on it. And so that gives us hope or an illusion of hope, but I don’t care. It’s happening. If it’s an illusion or if it’s a true thing carnate I don’t care. It’s happening.