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Ramin Haerizadeh, Iran

Banana Republic, 2010

Mix media on canvas
200 / 150 cm

Courtesy of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

Be green and vote for me, 2009
Mix media on canvas
200 / 150 cm

Courtesy of Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

Ramin Haerizadeh is presenting people in chador as a symbol for Daubed in blackness to suggest a chador, the artist uses his face to represent the conservative masses that have shaped Iran since the Revolution.

He shows these characters shouting in frustration, to reveal the pent up reality. This is not specifically directed at veiled women, but rather those (male or female) who would cloak themselves in an exterior of assumed piety. He questions the notion of concealment; the idea that changing the appearance of a person can somehow make them more modest, more pious, and this idea finds a visual hook in the mandatory covering of women since the 1979 Revolution.

With these, Ramin points to the process of stripping apart that occurred in the early years of post-Revolution Iran. As the world beyond Iran was blacked out in anti-Imperialist rhetoric, so too was the interior of the country subject to the black marker – the Shah’s face was stripped from textbooks, women were covered and the understanding of Iran’s history was torn apart and rewritten.

All of these elements hover within Ramin’s work, reflecting on a country that was remade or, more explicitly, collaged into a new shape. But Ramin does not look back with nostalgia to that dictatorship. He points to the process of collage that dominates life in Iran. His medium mirroring this observation, he shows that identities are remade and history can be changed as easy as cut and paste. These works, together, are defiant.

Ramin that history, inevitably, will be written by the winners. Haerizadeh’s work is a reflection of the chaotic collision of ideas and mire of nonsense in which he feels his country has been since he was a child.