When collector and film producer Hamidreza Pejman came across the abandoned Argo Factory he saw its meaningful potential.
Alongside the global domino effect of crisis-closed art spaces, we are excited to present Pejman Foundation as a brand new collection on IC and digitally break open the current closed doors to Argo Factory– the foundation’s public home in downtown Tehran. The formerly rundown Argo Factory sat abandoned and overlooked for over 60 years, until 2016 when collector Hamidreza Pejman came across the desolate lot and saw meaningful potential in such a space, where art truly can be art.
This bolstered a second chance for the forgotten factory and an opportunity to capture and preserve its historical integrity, whilst simultaneously bringing it into the present, in service of the arts. Having overhauled massive social, political and economic challenges, Argo Factory has undergone two phases of renovation, the most recent during 2018/19. January 2020 therefore marked its inaugural exhibition in the reborn space, of which Pejman Foundation, in association with Green Art Gallery, Dubai, presented The Room Becomes a Street, a solo exhibition by Iranian artist Nazgol Ansarinia, who currently lives and works in Tehran.
Conceived as a series of discrete interventions dispersed throughout the foundation’s galleries, the exhibition is Nazgol Ansarinia’s largest presentation to date and surveys the artist’s work of the last 15 years in sculpture, installation, drawing, and video. The individual projects represent ways of understanding the role of architecture in delineating interior and exterior spaces and private and public spheres. Informed by Ansarinia’s interdisciplinary background in art and design, projects range in approach and material to offer a perspective that considers the aesthetic and theoretical implications of vernacular architectural practices within the built environment. Her works are largely observational and technical in their scope, offering insight into the issues that are most pressing and urgent for today’s cities and the populations that inhabit them.
Nazgol Ansarinia’s individual research-based projects are often centered around aspects of Tehran’s architectural history. The Room Becomes a Street suggests a playful inversion of spaces that are otherwise separated by notions of urban design. Under our current corona-filter and new version of life at home, in a wild coincidence, the show’s title now gains another relevance and a new layer of meaning, offering imaginative input for us all to expand our minds into other possibilities whilst under isolation.
Hamidreza Pejman, together with Sohrab Kashani and Nariman Hamed have done just that, initiating a project called The Room. This is Pejman Foundation’s on-the-move platform with specially curated programming, and is set up online and at off-site venues. The inaugural room presented Pose of a Person, by Siavash Naghshbandi and again hits hard to home, confronting us with the reality of control and surveillance systems, which are expanding and are using artificial intelligence to learn human behaviour. For the past five months, the artist had a camera set up in his apartment that recorded his every movement via its motion detection feature. Keep your own eyes on The Room, the rooms renew regularly!
In an overview of Hamidreza Pejman’s pursuits, between overseeing the museum and foundation, ongoing philanthropy, and producing films, he is a long time advocate for the arts and culture both in Iran and internationally. Pejman’s collection is born from a deep individual interest and intent to thoughtfully reflect the evolution of contemporary art. Pejman Foundation and Argo Factory are public, non-profit institutions dedicated to contemporary art through: public programming; grants and sponsorships; talks and lectures; and cultural partnerships and collaborations. While Pejman’s collecting activities are ongoing, Argo Factory’s focus remains as an independent forum exploring ideas, exhibitions, and conversations surrounding artistic practises from Iran and abroad.
The Room Becomes a Street was due to take course at Argo Factory until April 10, 2020.