Archeology of the Final Decade is an ongoing curatorial and research project by Vali Mahlouji that investigates historically significant cultural and artistic material that were destroyed, forgotten or under-represented. The project aims to re-circulate and reincorporate the material back into cultural memory and discourse and retrospectively complexify their compounded meanings.
The first phase of this research relates to the artistic milieu and intellectual conditions of the final decade before 1979 - the pre-revolutionary moment - in Iran.
The first iteration of the project presents the iconic Prostitute series, (1975-1977) from the prolific Iranian documentary photographer Kaveh Golestan (1950-2003) and his photographs from the Citadel of Shahr-e No, Tehran, unseen since 1978. Using the prostitute images as a point of departure the project focuses on multivalent intersections of art, society, law and religion during 1960-80's Iran. This research - a documentary of the documentary - articulates personal, socio-psychological and geo-historical trajectories regarding organised sex work in Tehran during that period, bringing together images, memories, personal anecdotes, diary entries, film documentaries, newspaper clippings, as well as audio interview materials. The research highlights a major political shift to the right. Central to the enquiry is the notion of erasure of cultural material and social memory.
Unedited History. Iran 1960-2014
Chapter: The Years of "Modernisation" 1960-1978
© Photo: Haupt & Binder
Art and visual culture in Iran from the 1960s up to the present. 11 Dec. 2014 - 29 March 2015 at MAXXI Rome. Before at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Extensive photo tour.