Solo exhibition of Yahya Dehghanpour
Opening on 19th April 2019
On view until 1st May 2019
Yahya Dehghanpour has chosen a set of photographs to offer a simple ode to spring. Most of these photographs were printed in the book “Mountainside”, published in 1992 and are the result of his exploration of the everyday life in Mountainsides of Tehran, namely Emamzadeh Davoud, Darakeh, Darband and Farahzad, areas that remain popular for citizens of Tehran and are often visited for tracking, eating out and in case of Emamzadeh Davoud as a pilgrimage point.
It is the time frame of these photographs that make them doubly interesting as the photographs were taken in early 1980s while Iran Iraq war was in full swing and earth shaking changes were happening in the country. The result is straightforward reporting and recording of people’s tastes and habits, reminiscent of a simpler and happier times, when life was not complicated and confounding as it is today. A time before congestion and explosion of population, which also makes it interesting to note the absence of the populace, while their likes and dislikes is at exhibit.
A main point of attraction for artist was the easy going manner that people would have their cafes and places of business decorated which was suited to the needs of majority of the visiting crowds. Simple childlike paintings describing the nature of the business or signs of what was on offer, next to guileless desire to decorate walls, covered many of these walls and in absence of city markers they also showed the path. The contrast of these unpretentious and easily likeable paintings with today’s poor taste and faux styles used in decorating most of the restaurants and shops in exactly same spots is an indicator of major changes in Iranian way of life in the past three decades.
Artist’s quick wit and playfulness are an integral part of his oeuvre and are evident in this set of works. His relentless strive to observe and record, and to remain true to nature of documentary photography genre are exemplary.
At a difficult time in our history this exhibition is about simplicity, honesty, hope and the promise of spring.