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When Legacies Become Debts



Images: When Legacies Become Debts at The Mosaic Rooms, photographs by Andy Stagg and Joyce Nicholls.

When Legacies Become Debts contemplates the personal and collective forms of reliance and liability experienced between two generations of artists and writers in the Iranian context. Curated by Azar Mahmoudian the exhibition features commissioned works by Ali Meer AzimiBahar Noorizadeh and Mahan Moalemi, recent projects by Hadi Fallahpisheh and Shirin Sabahi, and in-process researches by Hannah DarabiRonak Moshtaghi, and Hamed Yousefi (with Ali Mirsepassi), the exhibition and related programme addresses the nuances of artistic research and production as part of series of pedagogical, discursive and material negotiations with the legacies that shape and inform them.

Read about the works in the exhibition.

When Legacies Become Debts centres on intergenerational obligations, personal commitments, intellectual inheritances and volatile destinies. What can be done with legacies that are desired or unwanted, reassuring or questionable? legacies of imagined futures that have taken a detour? Turning the notion of inheritance on its head, the exhibition suggests an inward excavation that asks how one might inherit oneself. In this respect, it addresses the feeling of indebtedness that legacies impart upon subsequent generations in the form of posterity. With this relationship comes a need to pay back, an expectation to continue what those legacies have triggered and provoked in their wake.

Indebtedness gradually becomes abstract in time and takes mental and emotional form. The question remains: What are the generative or prospective dimensions of such a form beyond the impositions by the current state of the economy in the art-world and beyond? Can indebtedness not only be associated with guilt and fear (and at the other end of the spectrum, optimistically, with love and care), but instead with an indefinable driving force for carrying on? A sense of commitment to a certain continuum? How irreparable is the debt and how irrecoverable are the bonds?

The exhibition hosts a series of conversations which will unfold in the exhibition space over the course of ten weeks. Contributors include Haytham El Wardany, Catherine David, Sumaya Kassamali, Sami Khatib, Hamed Khosravi, Suhail Malik, Lucie Mercier, Khashayar Naderehvandi, Alphabet Collection (Mohammad Salemy and Patrick Schabus), Sam SamieeAshkan Sepahvand, Mamali Shafahi, Jan Verwoert and the artists participating in the show. A structure is borrowed from Dora Garcia’s Red Love installation to hold a collection of books and Ghazaal Vojdani of Studio EUROPIUM has responded to the exhibition with design interventions.

Image: Writer Haytham El Wardany in conversation with curator Azar Mahmoudian about Kalila wa Dimna, and how we can learn from our childhood.

Please see our events archive for information about the event series.

This exhibition is the fourth in The Mosaic Rooms’ tenth anniversary series featuring modernist and contemporary artists from Egypt, Iran and Morocco.

Azar Mahmoudian is an independent curator and educator based in Tehran. Her recent projects include the multi-chaptered film programme, Sensible Grounds, for Tensta Konsthall, SAVVY Contemporary, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, and the Royal College of Art, London, among others; and Shifting Panoramas at TMOCA, Tehran, and DAZ, Berlin (2018). In 2016 Mahmoudian was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennial.

Full Press Release

Exhibition Brochure

Exhibition Leaflet


Exhibition supporters

This exhibition is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway and The Goethe Institut London.

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