Va Artist-in-Residence

Mahmoud Bakhshi

Based in Tehran, Iran

Va Artist-in-Residence
Short-Term Residency to Prepare for the Exhibition and Book Launch
“Night, Blackness and Other Stories” at CC Isfahan* (Isfahan, Iran), October 28 – November 29, 2020
*While the Residency was Managed by Va Space, the Exhibition was Organized by CC Isfahan

Project Description
This project is an outcome of a few years of research into conceptual interdependence between the literature and visual arts. Bakhshi started by choosing few rather clichéd terms often used by writers and intellectuals to indicated the situation of oppression and inevitable resistance. Word such as: winter, night have always had negative connotations in Iranian culture as opposites to light and warmth that would come from a flame, a fire that has been worshiped for centuries in Iran. Night is an equivalent of dark times, a suggestion of an expectation of a change. It is the strongest, and the most banal poetic metaphor for the totalitarian austerity in politics.  The black colour has equally strong attributed meaning in the realm of visual arts, especially painting. It is the colour that within itself contains the full palette. It is flat and always two-dimensional as it completely absorbs any light making impossible a chiaro oscuro volume effect. When talking about the importance of black colour the reference to the famous Malevich Black Square is inevitable – the paining that represents all the colours and all the shapes, epitome of representation in a total abstraction. Bakhshi’s work is about the tension between an image and a text, the inherent conflict of conceptual art. In the publication accompanying the exhibition this standoff becomes even more prominent. It is a book of short stories told without text, here the artist withdraws the authorship and invites the audience to bring in their own stories through a reflection on a polishes surface of black granite.**
** Text Courtesy of the Artist and CC Isfahan


Mahmoud Bakhshi (b. 1977, Tehran, Iran) is an Iranian visual artist. His previous exhibitions include: The Great Game, National Pavilion of Iran at 56th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia All the World’s Futures curated by Okwui Enwezor, Venice, 2015; Too early, too late. Middle East and Modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna 2015; TalkCloud, Niavaran Cultural Centre, Tehran and narrative projects, London 2014; Recalling the Future:  post-revolutionary Iranian art, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, University of London, 2014 Love Me/ Love Me Not, Contemporary Art from Azerbaijan and its Neighbors, The 55th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2013; DISASTER, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris-Pantin, 2013; Transformed Visions, Tate Modern, London, 2012; Hard Copy, Art Gwangju 2012; Bah Man, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, 2011; The Engaged Artist: Influences of Graphics on Sculpture in the Middle Ages, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2010; Winner of MOPCAP award and residency at the Delfina Foundation, London, alumni of Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam In 2004 Bakhshi established artist books publishing named BON-GAH. In 2012 BON-GAH moved to a new warehouse style space just outside of Tehran. The new building has allowed for the project to develop wider and it now incorporated artist studios and production facilities. Throughout his career Mahmoud Bakhshihas collaborated on a number of films as artistic director and also co-producer. Among them, “BAG DAD BAR BER” 2006 and “A Respectable Family” 2012 both directed by Massoud Bakhshi.