Intervention in the exhibition The Inescapable Intertwining of All Lives
July 5 – 23, 2023
Opening: July 4, 2023, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Welcoming with Miriam Koch, Gregor Jansen and the artists
The Iranian-born artists Bahar Batvand and Linda Nadji, who met while studying at the Düsseldorf Art Academy, have been in exchange since the 2022 unrest in Iran and have developed CIRCLE.43, a joint work that, despite its universality and abstraction, is a reaction to the current circumstances and grievances in their country of origin.
CIRCLE.43 consists of 43 chairs arranged tilted in a circle about 3.8 m in diameter. The chairs are coated in gold, the upholstery is covered with a red velvet fabric. They have a precious and royal feel and thus correspond to the preferred interior of the Iranian middle to upper classes, who like to surround themselves with pomp and opulence. But they are also mass-produced chairs that are used at events, meetings and celebrations.
Based on the tradition that during celebrations in Iran chairs are placed along the walls for the guests in order to keep the centre of the room free for communal dances, the two artists changed this familiar image in their installation. Officially, celebrating together with music and dance is not allowed in Iran, even though people do it in private anyway.
The number of chairs, 43, refers to the number of years since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, when the Shah's regime was overturned. The tilted chairs symbolise the state of “not being able to sit down”, i.e. not being able to come to rest, the “tilted” situation of many Iranians since that time.
Even though both artists do not see their work as activist or politically motivated, the influence of what is happening and their reaction to it or their statement is not absent. The oppression and unequal treatment of women in Iran cannot be reconciled with a Western and humanistic view. Nevertheless, the power of women in Iran is incredibly strong and there is hope that they can finally be heard in their dignity and self-determination and achieve change. The fact that the female body is still misused today as a vehicle for moral oppression and again often still functions as an object in the media in the Western world shows that there is still much work to be done to develop a self-determining and humane society.
Photo: Hojabr Riahi