Koorosh Shishegaran: Two-Way Street

7-25 January 2020

Curated by: Fereshte Moosavi

Two-Way Street is a research-based exhibition of works by Koorosh Shishegaran (b. 1944, Iran) exploring the emergence of a form of socially engaged art in the Iran of the 1970s. The selection of works for this exhibition is done with a focus on the early years of Shisegaran’s artistic practice when the student movements of the pre-revolutionary era in Iran had an impact on the socially orientated conceptions in his works. 

The exhibition presents works including Appropriation of Works of Great Artists (1974-76), Postal Art (1976), Art+Art (1976-77), and other two periods – with collaboration of his brothers, Behzad and Esmail – Art for Production (1977-78), Political Posters (1978-81), as well as PhotoWorks (2006), Bookworks (2016), Self Portraits (2008), and Paintings since 1986. 

The central piece in the exhibition is a hand-pulled silk-screen poster printed on paper titled Art+Art. Koorosh Shishegaran created Art+Art in 1977, installed at random places alongside Enqelab Avenue (Shahreza Ave. at the time) and also mailed the poster to several mainstream newspapers in Tehran accompanying this text: ‘K. Shishegaran’s works: [are] Shahreza Avenue itself’ and on each side of a spiral which forms the main design he added Shahreza Avenue is painting, is sculpture, is architecture, is cinema, is a poem. In an interview with Ettela’at newspaper in the same year Shishegaran stated:  

Some people think that I’m showing my work at Shahreza Avenue… but I am, in fact, introducing the street itself, the people in the street and the good and bad that happens there, as a work of art.

Shishegaran’s Art+Art suggests a possibility of inhabiting common spaces as a way of creating shared forms of imagination. To a greater extent, he not only liberates the art into a non-objecthood and conceptual state but also suggest a non-authorship or maybe a shared-authorship to produce such art.


Koorosh Shishegaran was born in Qazvin, Iran in 1944, but then moved to Tehran with his family. After graduation from the Tehran Fine Art High School, he entered the Faculty of Decorative Arts where he did his BA in interior decoration in 1973. His more familiar style of painting is only one of the various artistic experiences of the Shishegaran’s practices. These include a wide array of experiments on different media and a range of approaches. The works before 1981 could be classified into different series, including Mass Production Works (1973-74), Appropriation of Works of Great Artists (1974-76), Postal Art (1976), Art+Art (1976-77), and other two periods – with collaboration of his brothers, Behzad and Esmail – Art for Production (1977-78), and Political Posters (1978-81). Since 1983 he has concentrated more on painting and drawing. This interest in whirling lines, however, was obvious in his first solo exhibition in 1973. Shishegaran exhibited these paintings first in 1989 and then 1992, 1997, and 2006 in solo shows. Throughout these years, aside from developing his painting style and participating in many group exhibitions, both inside and outside Iran, he has created other series of works, such as War Drawings (1990), PhotoWorks (2006), and Self Portraits (2008). His last solo exhibition was in London (2013) and a review on some of his paintings in Tehran (2015). Some of his group exhibitions outside Iran includes: Wash Art in Washington D.C. 1977; Basel, Switzerland, 1978; The Millennium Painting Exhibition in London 1999; exhibition of Iranian artists in Rome, 2000; Meridian Centre exhibitions in United States, 2001-2003; Barbican Centre, 2001; Beijing Biennial, 2003; Opera Gallery, London, 2013.


Fereshte Moosavi, is an independent curator and educator based in London. She has a PhD from the Curatorial/Knowledge programme at Goldsmiths University of London. Her thesis entitled Studying Curatorial-Abilities; Environmenting, Improvising, & Inhabiting State of Affairs proposes a set of abilities that has the potential to resituate curatorial thinking and expand practices of curation as creative processes.  Moosavi has worked for over seven years (April 2011-September 2018) as the art direactor and curator of the MOP Foundation in London and is the founder of Curatorial in Other Words, a research-based project initiated in 2015 in Tehran.


Opening Reception

Tuesday 7 January, 6-8:30pm

The Trajectory of Koorosh Shishegaran’s Artistic Phases:
From Utopianism to Aestheticism

In conversation with Dr. Hamid Keshmirshekan 

Friday 17 January, 6-7:30pm

Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of History of Art and Archaeology, School of Arts, SOAS Hamid Keshmirshekan was previously Senior Lecturer at the Advanced Research Institute of Art (ARIA), Iranian Academy of Arts (2013-17) and Associate Fellow at the KRC, Faculty of Oriental Studies and History of Art Department at Oxford University (2004-12). His interests are twentieth and twentieth-first century art from the Middle East, with particular attention to the recent developments in art practice and its relation to the context.  

Common Space in the Iran’s Art Field of the 1970s

In conversation with Dr. Elham Pouriamehr 

Saturday 25 January, 4-5:30pm

Elham Pouriamehr is an independent artist, curator and lecturer. She received her BA and MA from the Tehran University of Art, and her PH. D in art research (Cultural Discourse of Curating in Contemporary Art of Iran) from Alzahra University in Tehran.  Her research focuses on curatorial knowledge in social contexts. She has worked as a university teacher and writer over the past twelve years, as well as having curated exhibitions and curatorial projects in West Asia and Europe. Elham has lectured at international conferences, symposiums, and talks in Tehran, Singapore, Amsterdam, and Vienna. She is co-founder of “to elaborate; discenter for curatorial projects”, a non-profit nomadic platform based in Vancouver. 


The exhibition is partially sponsored by the The Prix Off F.P.Journe, which rewards the best institutional curated exhibition at artmonte-carlo. The Prix Off 2017 was awarded to Magic of Persia for the exhibition ‘Contemporary Iran’ curated by Fereshte Moosavi. Financed by F.P.Journe, this prize allowed the winner to develop and sustain this project in London. 

Magic of Persia is a non-profit organisation based in London that provides educational and representational support for Iranian artists. Established in 2004, MOP Foundation pioneers Iranian art and culture to a global audience through its dedicated programme of modern and contemporary Iranian art exhibitions, music, media, academia and partnerships with leading international institutions.