Tate Britain Level 2
4 June – Sunday 10 August 2008
In June 2008, Tate Britain will open the first major showing in the UK of the work of the Iranian-British photographer and film director, Mitra Tabrizian. Born in Tehran, Tabrizian engages with a range of contemporary social and political issues including post-colonial theories, the effects of late capitalism in Britain, and the shifting realities of life in post-revolutionary Iran. Bringing together more than 17 large-scale works from the last eight years, the exhibition will focus on themes of the rise of corporate culture, ageism, nomadism, migrancy and the idea of homeland.
Tabrizian has a distinctive approach to the construction of pictures. Combining documentary techniques with those of film, she makes elaborate, meticulously staged photographic tableaux containing condensed narratives. Sometimes these narratives emerge from a sequence of stills, as in the series The Perfect Crime 2003 and Lost Time 2002, while in other works such as Silent Majority the storyline is concentrated within one frame. The themes of these works echo earlier pieces such as Beyond the Limits 2000 in offering a challenging critique of corporate culture and contemporary life.
In her most recent works, including Border 2005–6 and Tehran 2006, Tabrizian has been influenced by New Wave Iranian Cinema. This has transformed Iranian film in the last two decades and according to Rose Issa, curator of this exhibition, its cinematic language “champions the poetry in everyday life and the ordinary person by blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality, feature film with documentary”.
Tehran 2006, a large panoramic photograph of a run-down residential area in the capital, is populated by a disparate group of people with all the characters playing themselves: the crowd is a mixture of people who are struggling and living on the edge; a taxi driver, factory worker, builder, cleaner, dress-maker and servant. Border, a group of photographs from 2005–6, shows real people in everyday settings, immigrants who have left Iran and crossed borders in search of a better life, in everyday settings. They are shown lost in thought having brought their borders with them, remaining divided between their present circumstances and their longing for home, or their desire to feel at home in their new surroundings.
Tabrizian has exhibited in museums and galleries in Europe, Asia and the USA, including most recently a solo exhibition at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006). Her work was included in Veil, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (2003) and Voodoo Macbeth: A tribute to the work of Orson Welles, De la Warr Pavilion. Bexhill (2006). This exhibition has been selected by Rose Issa. It will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with a text by T.J.Demos and interview between the artist and Rose Issa.