This September, The Wapping Project Bankside showcases British-Iranian photographer and film-maker Mitra Tabrizian’s previously unseen series Another Country. Born in Tehran, Tabrizian’s work explores a range of issues including post-colonial theory, corporate culture in the West and the recent cultural and political shifts in Iranian society.
Blurring the boundary between fact and fiction and combining documentary techniques with those of film, Tabrizian produces meticulously choreographed photographic scenes of condensed narratives. This exhibition brings together the complete series Another Country (2010) for the first time in the UK, alongside the monumental Untitled (2009), and focuses on the idea of homeland, the emergence of hybrid cultural identities in the context of globalisation and the politics of everyday life for Muslim communities from the Middle East in the UK.
Another Country is a series of 8 large-scale group and individual portraits showing real people: immigrants who have come to Europe from the Middle East or North Africa, and their children, some of whom were born in the UK. The individuals appear invariably lost in thought, in space and frozen in time, perhaps caught between their present circumstances and a certain desire to return. The scenes are shot in everyday settings – a school, a café, a cemetery, but the geographic location remains ambiguous. Where is here?
Untitled (2009) is a monumental photograph capturing a group of young Iranian students. Gathered in a desertic landscape, the figures occupy an uncomfortable middle distance in the picture; too far from the objective to be identifiable portraits, yet too close to be background figures. The result is a strange sense of stillness and isolation, imbued with silent confrontation. Untitled (2009) was shot shortly before the protests disputing the results of the 2009 Iranian presidential election broke out.
Another Country, 21st September until 2nd November, The Wapping Project Bankside, 65a Hopton Street, London SE1 9LR. www.thewappingprojectbankside.com
1. Mitra Tabrizian, from the series Another Country, 2010
2. Mitra Tabrizian, from the series Another Country, 2010
3. Mitra Tabrizian, Untitled, 2009