TEHRAN.(Iranart) solo exhibit ‘The Abandoned Places Project’ by photographer Azadeh Behkish has been organized under the auspices of Tehran’s Azad Art Gallery.
The exhibition opened on June 16 at a special location in Tehran selected for the event: No. 5, Salmas Square, Golha Square, Fatemi Street. It will run through June 22, according to Gallery Info (galleryinfo.ir). Visiting hours are from 5-10 pm.
On display are a collection of photos Behkish took from abandoned houses over a period of 18 months. The significance of the photos is explained in the introduction to the display where she says, “After the (1980-88 Iraq-Iran war), selling construction permit and floor area ratio (the ratio of a building’s total floor area to the size of the land upon which it is built) in the city became the biggest income-earner for Tehran Municipality.
Tehran’s facade changed twice in the past 40 years, during the war and in the new millennium. Pace of constructions and urban development between 2007 and 2014 was at a rate that normally should occur over a period of 20 years.”
The artist bemoans that the central part of the rapidly and haphazardly expanding vast city has become a ghost town with houses emptied to be replaced by malls and high-rises.
Coexistence of huge malls, residential towers and abandoned homes is a terrifying paradox, she said.
In her works, she says, she is not evaluating the city in terms of its historical value, architecture or visual attraction. “What I’m concerned is that considerable parts of the urban texture no longer have cultural or social identity.”
“The districts I went around are 6, 7, 11 and 12. With the ubiquitous development projects and commercial complexes, what will remain of the city’s original identity, and its environment?” she asked.
Behkish is a prolific photographer and multimedia artist often concerned with cultural issues of the society. Her previous solo exhibit was in 2009 at Tehran’s Golestan Gallery.