Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet tells the story of the evolution of Iranian contemporary art by examining the work of 30 artists.
This is art where the ills of internal politics remain astutely masked below a layer of ornamentation. What unites the disparate works into a coherent theme is the artists’ coping mechanisms, which consist of subversive critique, quiet rebellion, humour, mysticism and poetry—hence the publication‘s title.
The subtitle Contemporary Persians is also a reference to a strategy of survival used by Iranians in the United States during the early 2000s; at a time when Iranians were identified with hostage takers and terrorists, they adopted the identity “Persians”, which remained free of such associations.
Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet brings together the work of a number of well-known artists, including Afruz Amighi, whose work is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and Monir Farmanfarmaian, who received a major exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in 2015, amongst many others—Shiva Ahmadi, Shirin Aliabadi, Mahmoud Bakhshi, Shadi Ghadirian, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Shirazeh Houshiary, Farhad Moshiri, Parviz Tanavoli.
This title is published in partnership with the Aga Khan Museum, to coincide with a major exhibition of contemporary art curated by the book's author, Fereshteh Daftari.