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Absence, disappearance and loss of memory in the work of twelve Iranian artists
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Recollection II, 2008. Mirror Mosaic and reverse glass painting, 160 x 100 cm. Courtesy of ROSE ISSA PROJECTS.

BRUSSELS.- The CAB announces its new exhibition titled ‘The Fold’, which explores, under the curation of Michel Dewilde and Azar Mahmoudian, topics such as absence, disappearance, amnesia and the importance of memory set against the background of modern and contemporary Iran.

Inspired by ‘Le Pli’ (1988) of the French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze, the curators choose the fold as the leitmotif for the exhibition. Here, the concept of the fold functions in a variety of modalities including the psychological, historical and political level.

The image of the fold offers interesting starting points for different layers of the exhibition. For example, it combines at the same time the idea of a series of actions and a covering up. A fold can be opened or closed: it unfolds itself to the world or it can fold up. Simultaneously, it can hide certain dimensions or types of information, even only temporarily. In the end, the fold encloses the passing of time, it can suggest memory or the loss of it. The fold symbolizes the interval where time is suspended, while its cracks or fissures also refer to unseen dimensions.

The term can lead to a different understanding of one’s relationship to oneself, a world where the internal and external or past and present can no longer be located.

In this hyper-modern age, we witness an even greater embrace of the new, the belief in unlimited progress, the role of technology and the importance of the here and now. This hunger for instant changes results in the neglection of the memory, the past and history: on a personal level, it leads to alienation and to the loss of the self or on a larger scale, to the alteration of the collective memory. Records, facts or memories are enfolded and can hardly be remembered.

This situation is quite a paradox, given the fact that we are able to record, store and assess more facts and traces of the past than ever before.

The fold can refer to different conditions of modernity: the growing amnesia and the disappearance of the subject altogether. In the end, we find it in the process of modernist urbanisation with its cycles of replacement or destruction of the old and ancient. Finally, it produces its own protagonist: the figure of the lost and amnesic wanderer.

The exhibition ‘The Fold’, favors an intergenerational approach, confronting different aesthetic positions, spanning four decades of art in Iran. Beginning in the 1960’s modernist era, the show combines internationally renowned artists, such as Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, who started their career at a time of an imposed modernism, with others who were living abroad or in exile and emerged in the 80s and early 90s, such as Chohreh Feyzdjou and Reza Abdoh. These artists are brought together with representatives of the most recent generations such as Shirin Sabahi or Mani Manzinani. The exhibition combines unique existing art works with site-specific creations by Parastou Forouhar, Homayoun Sirizi and Arash Hanaei. The use of the mirror state, of the reflection, but also of the notion of the absent, the invisible or the wanted or forced amnesia and alienation are recurrent themes in their different art practices.

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