Shadi Ghadirian Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

Challenging the international preconceptions of women’s roles within an Islamic state, Tehran-based artist Shadi Ghadirian’s photographs draw from her own experiences as a modern woman living within the ancient codes of Shariah law. Her images describe a positive and holistic female identity, humorously taking issue with the traditional roles by which women – both in the Middle East and universally – have been defined.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

Ghadirian uses an ordinary kitchen utensil as a readymade pun. Through her simple recontextualisation of a cleaver, she develops a fictional character of hilarious proportions as the old adage of ‘hatchet face’ comes to life as a one eyed shrew. Branded with the knife company’s label – Shogun – she’s not a woman to be reckoned with.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

Through her staged photographs, Ghadirian’s everyday objects become elevated from anonymity to form a group of distinctive portraits. Humorously drawing upon the humanistic forms of each item, common goods resonate with suggestive narratives, ironically exaggerating misogynist typecasts. In this work a colander adeptly represents a woman who’s all mouth: a neighbourhood gossip conceived as a human sieve, endlessly broadcasting like a loud speaker.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

A shrouded broom huddles with timid demureness, her form most associated with ‘doormat’; beneath her veil, however, the broom handle stands in for a sturdy backbone. With her countenance made up of a straw besom, her expression appears wizened and worn, indicating time honoured knowledge and the tenacity and temper of a charwoman.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

Her Like Everyday Series was created from the plethora of domestic gifts she received after her wedding – items completely foreign to a young professional. Using these objects – such as irons and frying pans – as masks to cover the faces of her veiled sitters, Ghadirian’s photos ironically portray a one-dimensional interpretation of housewives, absurdly reducing their identities to cooks and cleaners.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

The title of Ghadirian’s Like Everyday Series refers both to the materials she uses in her photos and the derogatory social perceptions that women regularly face. Her cast of crudely rendered women cleverly reinvents the sources of negative stereotyping as attributes of empowerment. A grater-faced wife, the dreaded prototype of mother-in-law jokes everywhere, radiates a steely and abrasive determination.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Like Everyday Series

2000-2001

C-print

183 x 183 cm

Replacing the expected monotone of the black chador with vibrantly patterned fabrics, each portrait suggests a vivacious individuality and character, belying the limitations of stereotype. Similarly, the mundane objects, when transformed into faces, become highly poised and charismatic caricatures, embodying individual personalities.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Ghajar Series

1998-1999

C-print

213 x 152 cm

The Ghajar dynasty ruled Iran from 1794-1925; and from its inception photography was popular with the elite, documenting women as well as men. The images from this period tend to share stylistic devices: people are posed, usually as individuals rather than groups, in the very elaborate settings of their homes, often sat next to or holding prized possessions or objects of status. In photos of this period, women were permitted to be pictured in less formal dress within the privacy of their homes, and some members of the Shah’s harem were even photographed in tutus in accordance with his predilection for the ballet. Though Ghadirian’s images replicate the settings and traditional costumes of this time, her women are presented in a much more modest way in their postures and poses, in adherence to more ‘contemporary’ custom.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Ghajar Series

1998-1999

C-print

213 x 152 cm

Ghadirian’s Untitled from the Ghajar Series is shocking not only for its anachronistic props, but for the sheer brazenness of her subject: defiant in her gangsta posturing and holding a ridiculously large ghetto-blaster. Ironically, this image is most in keeping with her historical references, showing the self-possessed attitude of her sitter. In this piece Ghadirian’s surreal time-warp happens in reverse: the initial joke is that the 1980s radio is out of place in the antique setting, but it is the vintage scene and pose which is in fact much more modern. Ghadirian uses this subtle humour to describe a contemporary Iranian female experience of existing as if outside of time.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Ghajar Series

1998-1999

C-print

213 x 152 cm

Inspired by 19th century photographs from the Ghajar period – the first portraits to be permitted by religious law – Ghadirian carefully reconstructed the opulent style of these images with the help of many friends: borrowing antique furnishings and costumes, commissioning the painted backdrops, inviting them to pose in the images. Picturing each woman in a bygone era, each scene is jarringly interrupted by the presence of contemporary products – a phone, boom-box, hoover – pointing to a culture clash of tradition and progress. The women stare out from the photos with an unnerving directness, detached from their environment, and confident within themselves.

Shadi Ghadirian
Untitled from the Ghajar Series

1998-1999

C-print

213 x 152 cm

Ghadirian’s Untitled from the Ghajar Series is shocking not only for its anachronistic props, but for the sheer brazenness of her subject: defiant in her gangsta posturing and holding a ridiculously large ghetto-blaster. Ironically, this image is most in keeping with her historical references, showing the self-possessed attitude of her sitter. In this piece Ghadirian’s surreal time-warp happens in reverse: the initial joke is that the 1980s radio is out of place in the antique setting, but it is the vintage scene and pose which is in fact much more modern. Ghadirian uses this subtle humour to describe a contemporary Iranian female experience of existing as if outside of time.


Shadi Ghadirian's Biography

Shadi Ghadirian
Born in 1974, Tehran, Iran
Lives and works in Tehran, Iran



SOLO EXHIBITIONS


2016
Like Every Day And Nil Nil, AB43 Contemporary, Zurich (Switzerland)

2015
Shadi Ghadirian – Rétrospective, Bibliothèque de la Part Dieu, Lyon
The Others Me, Officine dell’Immagine, Milan, Italy
Shadi Ghadirian: a retrospective, Dar al Funoon Gallery, Kuwait
Shadi Ghadirian, Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, (USA

2013
Miss Butterfly, Lakeeren Gallery, Mumbai

2012
Shadi Ghadirian, Podbielski Contemporary, Berlin
Shadi Ghadirian: Voices of The Other Half, Rossi & Rossi Ltd, London
The International Photo Festival, Kusadasi, Turkey

2011
West by East, Queen Gallery, Toronto
Miss Butterfly, Silk Road Gallery, Tehran

2010
Shadi Ghadirian - Solo, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai

2009
Aeroplastics Contemporary, Belgium
FCG Duesseldorf, Germany
Co2 Gallery, Rom
Boudin Lebon Gallery, Paris

2008
Los Angeles County Muesum of Art, California
Silk Rad, Tehran
Tasweer Gallery, India

2007
B21 Gallery, Dubai
Photography Festival of Istanbul, Turkey

2006
French Cultural Center, Damascus, Syria
Al mamal Foundation2, Jerusalem, Palestine

2002
Villa Moda, Kuwait

2001
Exhibition of Fnac, France

1999
Golestan Gallery, Tehran


GROUP EXHIBITIONS


2016
Into View, Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD
Islamic Art Now, Contemporary Art of the Middle East, Part II, Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CA
Daegu Photo Biennale 2016, EXCO, Daegu
Parallel Vienna 2016, Parallel Vienna, Vienna
Burnt Generation: Contemporary Iranian Photography, Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP), Chicago, (USA)
She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC (USA)
Miradas paralelas. Irán-España: fotógrafas en el espejo, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid
Defilages- Gender & Ae´rt Textile aujourd’hui, Galerie 100Titres, Brussels
Iran Art Now!, Setareh Gallery, Dusseldorf

2015
Flashback, Haleh Gallery, Berg am Starnberger See
The Eye of the Shah: Qajar Court Photography and the Persian Past, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York City, NY
She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PA
Humble me, AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels
She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Stanford, CA
Too early, too late: Middle East and Modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna, Bologna
Burnt Generation - The Founders, Gallery at The Military Museums, Calgary, AB
56th Venice Biennale, The Great Game – Iranian Pavilion, Venice, Italy
Cherchez l’erreur, Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris, France
SELF: Portraits of Artists in Their Absence, National Academy Museum, New York, NYC, USA

2014
Voice of Tacitness: Asian Women Photography, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong
Iran_Rio Art Connection, Largo Das Artes, Rio de Janeiro
Majority World Photo, Gulf Photo Plus (GPP), Dubai
The Middle East Revealed: A Female Perspective, Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York City, NY
Contemporary Iranian Photography, Fine Arts Gallery of Cal State L.A., Los Angeles, CA
Burnt Generation, Somerset House, London
Full House - 15 Years of Inventory and Exhibitions at Aeroplastics Contemporary, AEROPLASTICS contemporary, Brussels
Displacement, Silk Road Gallery, Tehran
The winter video art (Iran And Japan), Azad Art Gallery, Tehran

2013
Photography Art: Beginning a Collection, Silk Road Gallery, Tehran
She Who Tells a Story - Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World, MFA - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
L’eveil Du Moyen Orient, Galerie Mark Hachem, Paris
Identity, Haleh Gallery, Berg am Starnberger See
Harem Fantasies and the New Sheherzades, CCCB - Centre de Cultura ContemporĂ nia de Barcelona

2012
AKS: Pictorial Representations from Iran, Rose Issa Projects, London
Light from the Middle East: About the Exhibition, Victoria & Albert Museum - V&A, London
Social Order: Women Photographers from Iran, India and Afghanistan, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle
The Other Half Of Iran, SEM-ART Gallery, Monaco
The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art and Society, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton
Iranian Arts Now, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris
Green: A Spring Hanging, Rose Issa Projects, London
Iranian Perspectives: A Group Show, Richard Young Gallery, London
The elephant in the dark, Devi Art Foundation, Gurgaon
Evreux, Maison des Arts, France
Tbilisi Photo Festival, Georgia
Museum of contemporary art, Isfahan, Iran
Majority World, Guardian Gallery, London
Biennial of Fashion Photography, Varazdin, Croatia

2011
The Pool, Mohsen Gallery, Tehran
THEO LENDERS 1955-2011, Odapark Venray - Centrum hedendaagse kunst, Venray
Pulso Iraniano, Oi Futuro, Rio de Janeiro
PHotoEspaña 2011 - PHotoEspaña, Madrid
Summer Group Show - Artists Of The Gallery, Podbielski Contemporary, Berlin
Idols and Icons, YAVUZ Fine Art, Singapore
Miragens, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - CCBB - BrasĂ­lia
Zendegi: Twelve Contemporary Iranian Artists, Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut
Of women's modesty and anger, Villa Empain - Boghossian Foundation, Brussels
Staging Identity, Kashya Hildebrand - ZĂĽrich
Miragens, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, SĂŁo Paulo
Miragens, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - CCBB - SĂŁo Paulo
The French Cultural Center in Yangon, Burma
Cool Art Café, Brussels
Artespacio CAF,Bolivia
Tehran Monoxide Project, Kherad School, Tehran

2010
La Route de la Soie, Tri Postal, Lille
Miragens, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil - CCBB - Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro
Recent Self-portraites, Silk Road Gallery, Tehran
Barakat: The Gift, Stux Gallery, New York City
Stare at the Other Side, Albareh Art Gallery, Manama
Tehran-New York, Leila Heller Gallery, New York City
The Promise of Loss. A Contemporary Index of Iran, Arario New York, New York City
Cmooa Gallery, Morocco
Festival Images, Vevey, Switzerland
IRAN: Preview of the past, University of Applied Arts, Vienna
Act of Faith, Abdijdmuseum Ten Duinen' in Koksijde, Belgium

2009
Mall Gallery, Masques of Shahrzad, London
Group photo exhibition, Italian School, Tehran
165 years of Iranian Photography, Du Quai Branly Museum, Paris
Routes, Waterhouse & Dodd Gallery, London
Guild Art Gallery, New york
Galerie Ernst Hilger, Austria
Arario Gallery New York

2008
Word Into Art, DIFC, Dubai
Cramer Contemporary, Switzerland
Exprmntl gallery , Toulouse, France

2007
Noorderlicht photofestival, Netherlands
La Paz, Bolivia
San Diego Convention Centre, California
Silk Road, Tehran

2006
Blessed are the Merciful, Feigen Contemporary, New York
Artspace Witzenhausen , Amsterdam
The Veiled Mirror, Contemporary Iranian Photography, De Santos Gallery, Houton, Texas,
Word into Art : Artists of the Modern Middle East, The British Museum, London,
Image of Middle East, dccd, Denmark
Ey Iran, Contemporary Iranian Photography, Gold Cost City Art Gallery, Australia
Representation and Use of the Body in Art, Galerie Helene Lamarque, Paris
Le Rectangle, Lyon, France
Selyemes Fenyek, Budapest
Inaugura en Tucumán, Mexico

2005
How eastern look at western, CCCB, Barcelona
Rebel mind Gallery, Berlin
Foto Art Festival, Poland
Group Exhibition, After the revolution, Sansebastian, Spain
Aeroplastics Gallery, Belgium
N Gallery, Georgia
Galata Fotografhanesi, Istanbul
Boudin Lebon Gallery, Paris
Third Line Gallery, Dubai

2004
San Jose Museum of Art, New York
The House of World Cultures, Berlin
Photo Biennale of Moscow, Russia
Parliament of Brussels
Photo Biennale of Luxemburg
Chobi Mella 3, Bangladesh

2003
Harem Fantasies and the new Scheherzades, Spain and France
Sharjah International Biennial 6, Sharjah
Women in Orient - Women in Occident, Germany
Konstmuseum Gutenberg, Sweden
Ville De Bologna, France
Veil exhibition, The new Art Gallery,Walsall, Liverpool, Oxford, England
Sorbonne University, Paris

2002
Silk Road Gallery, Tehran
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran
Thssaloniki Museum of Photography (Glimpses Of Iran), Greece

2001
A Space Gallery, Toronto
Barbican Art Center (Iranian Contemporary Art), London
Photospania Festival, Spain
Regards Persans, Espace Electra, Paris

2002
Inheritance, Leiton House Museum, London
Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center Copenhagen, Denmark
Ballymena Arts Festival, Northern Ireland
The House of World Cultures, Berlin
The Iranian Women's Studies Foundation, Worth Ryder Gallery at University of California, Berkeley

1999
Leighton House Museum, London

1998
Sooreh International photo exhibition, Tehran
Barg Gallery, Tehran

1997
Group Exhibition (About Children) Aria Gallery, Tehran
Tehran International Documentary Photo exhibition, Tehran