Performing the Iranian State

Elizabeth Stuart, Hope College 2018

Reading through the multiple essays in Performing the Iranian State I was most interested in the final one titled “Female Trouble: Melancholia and Allegory in Contemporary Iranian Art”. Maybe it is due to the fact that I just took Contemporary art last semester, but I found the tracking that they did on the modern Iranian artists and what their works were a reaction to fascinating. The I Surrender exhibit, and how it is either a reation to or a continuation of the previous exhibit Magic Bullet which dealt with the AIDs crisis.

Something I noticed while reading, and this may be completely off the mark, but all of these female artists seem to be creating art that not only will not last for ever, or art in which the viewer leaves with a tiny portion of the work. Helium balloons are not something that will last for ever. They will pop, wilt, and shrivel away, so why create art out of them? Once the Persian rugs have all been cut away, the exhibit is no more, and arguably once a significant portion of the rugs have been cut away, then the exhibit has lost a good portion of its visual significance.

I am just trying to mentally figure out how/why these artists decided to use these mediums to create their art from. Do they feel that their political/gendered/religious state in their homeland or abroad is so tenuous that they must create art that reflects that? Or do they want the rest of the world to become more aware at the possible instability of their country of origin?

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