Curator: Zartosht Rahimi

Mr. President

An exhibition curated by Zartosht Rahimi and Armin Maleki

"Mr. President" is both the deliverer of people's political will and its addressee, while he is a so far masculine instance of mankind. He is a protagonist who is sometimes considered a popular hero and sometimes rejected as a false mask on people's face; a chair which demonstrates the shortcomings of Islamic democracy and also a symptom of people's vulnerability in face of their own political immaturity and others' populist promises.

"Mr. President", in recent few decades, is an Iranian phenomenon but since earlier times, there have been Presidents in the middle-east who have reflected or deformed people's image in this region, sometimes they have been a token of a collective ideal and sometimes a cause for popular revolt.

"Mr. President" is a name for an exhibition. An exhibition with a defined theme in which some well-known Iranian Artists participate and clarify the vicissitude of this theme using their various Artistic media, within the criteria of a game known as "Art". They try to find an equivalent for some collective desires and make a face for them which goes beyond still visuality and through its dynamism in time and presence in space tries to assimilate to the living current which it represents, but only if such an assimilation is possible.

The exhibition "Mr. President" nevertheless, doesn't necessarily claim that such assimilation is possible, more than that we want to experiment on its limits and get involved in its challenges. So as a part of this exhibition a documentary stand is presented where historical facts rebel against Artistic creativity. Historical documents are second hand facts, they are representations, but still they benefit from a certain contingency which opposes any systematic presentation and Artistic creativity; they are part of the "Chaos" out there, not easily internalizable. Therefore, here, cohabitation of Art and documentation is part of the challenge.

But since we are speaking about a living phenomenon, there is no need for limiting ourselves to second hand facts. The first hand facts of this exhibition are its audience and their reactions. As such, just as before documentation was juxtaposed with Art, there is a space for the audience to create their own work, cutting and pasting various images they find in the exhibition. The paintings in their frames and videos presented as Art wouldn't be removed, but there would be another podium for the public beside/against them.

The exhibition "Mr. President" is also an attempt to contemplate Art, as the official face of creative activity, just as it contemplates the President as the official face of people's politics. Art, very similar to the President, sometimes represents its creative body correctly and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes as a collection of impressive works represents the Ideals and grieves of its age and sometimes it betrays its pedestal through its institutional bureaucracy and its dependence on material means. In this exhibition we see an Art which is political, not only because there is a political theme in it, but because it is besieged by its political adversaries: documentation and its own audience.