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Morad Montazami

24 October 2016

Pejman Foundation: Café Musée Project presents a lecture and Q&A with Morad Montazami, curator at Tate Modern and art historian involved in the general effort to study the shifting lines and patterns of global modernism, especially the Middle East and North Africa. The event is moderated by Marjan Tajeddini.


If history of art has been changing throughout the last 20 years into a geography of art, means as a discipline, itself, has been changing into an odyssey. We have moved at the speed of light from the ruins of exoticism and colonial disenchantment to a collective revaluation of artistic practices outside the western scope, and to various hybridizations of modernism. How can we account for Iran’s location in those remapping operations, when faced to a larger network of histories; including the postcolonial debate in the Moroccan avant-garde, the Egyptian “Surrealists” and other comparable stories from the 1930s to the 1970s between Damascus, Casablanca, Baghdad, Cairo, ... What are the conceptual tools and fieldwork experiences to be found, for a critical re-examination of the "Middle East" as an ideological apparatus? How can we unfurl the routes guiding to alternate mappings and unexpected cultural transfers, throughout the former "Third world" (Asia and Africa)? What could be the role of the ornament as a force of spatial displacement in this context? Or that of the script as a regenerative palimpsest? What are the main philosophical antagonisms or alliances and different attitudes towards the dialectics of tradition and progress? How such categories as "romanticism","abstraction", "minimalism", "committed art", … find themselves atomized into a multiplicity of libertarian dialogues, aesthetic reinventions and esoteric journeys?