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Iranian Artist Majid Karimi will showcase his work in a modern photo art exhibition "Exterior-Interior" at Oxford Brookes University on
October 20, 2008

The opening ceremony of the photo-illustration exhibition, Exterior-Interior: public and private life/space on a main street in Tehran by artist Majid Karimi was well received by the public.

Mr. Pourvaziry, IAARA President, and Butina Watson, Head of Department of Planning were available to greet guests.

Opening Ceremony
20th of October, 5:00pm

Opening Dates & Times (20-23 October)
October 20: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
October 21: 10:00am - 8:00pm
October 22: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
October 23: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Buckley Building, Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane
Oxford OX3 0BP

In a world of increasing globalisation and constant change, where one street resembles another, we constantly question why such places lack in distinctive character, in their unique place-identity.

The exhibition portfolio of artwork by Majid Karimi, a Tehran-born architect and artist, offers a unique experience for understanding a 20 km long main street of Tehran.  The artist uses multi-media and photographic artwork to explain historical, cultural, architectural and urban design richness of the street, where both exterior and interior spaces showcase contrasting urban form patterns and a variety of lifestyles of the city’s many neighbourhoods. The exhibition of artwork-‘Exterior-Interior:  private and public lives and space on a main Tehran street’- captures beautifully the ever changing human and place-identities.

The exhibition journey starts in a wealthy, northern part of Tehran, full of rich interior and exterior spaces, buildings types and signs of global consumerism that can be found in many other cities throughout the world: shopping malls, cinemas, cultural and business complexes, transport interchanges and many other facilities. Both the interior and exterior spaces are shaped by modern design solutions, which place Tehran into a global system of urban form production.

As we venture into more southern parts of the city, different, more traditional, cultural and spatial experiences take place.  Here we find a wealth of colours, shapes and images that are influenced by the traditional craft and built form patterns. The dress code here is also different from the fashion items seen in the northern parts of the city.

This collection of artwork is of potential interest to architecture, urban design, art, fashion design, planning and other professionals interested in understanding how cities, people and cultural transformations shape and change place-identities of the world we inhabit.

Professor Georgia Butina Watson
Head of Department of Planning
Research Director
School of the Built Environment
Oxford Brookes University

Statement by IAARA President
Today's urban space is filled with complications. There are many definitions that reflect the diverse perspective of people in relation to life and culture.

This diversity in perspective varies from the collaboration of cultures, to cultural clash and conflicts. The cities are the main place where these perspectives are put into process.

In this sense, the cultural parade has a special place which is closely related to the meaning of "space" in the city. The path from traditional to modern life shows the relatively interesting characteristics of the human being. The difference in perspective and social activities, inside and outside the space, are the representation of the "cultural passage". In the "cultural passage" stage, social manners are fairly noticed and tolerated.

The role of public art is very important in order to improve the quality of life. The exposition of Mr. Majid Karimi "exterior-interior: public and private life and space on a main street in Tehran", puts this idea into visual prospect. This work shows the modern cultural-social space of Iran.

I believe that the demonstration of this topic in an international space will create a positive ground for cultural socialization.

Reza Pourvaziry
International Art & Architecture Research Association (IAARA)

Statement by the Artist
Fog…Chaos Inside

These all exist in our spaces, perhaps sometimes we omit one to analyze the other.
Exterior-Interior is a free narration about a main street in Tehran and the public and private spaces around it. In my experience, I have noticed invisible layers and matrices which affect each other. As I considered the relationship between them, I tried to examine these layers in Tehran.

I examined the layers both during various times and different locations while observing the relations between them in order to find a new kind of space. These examinations have been collected together and defined in different images.

The effort to survive and adapt to new conditions and situations has created a new definition of lifestyle in city areas. Sometimes they are pleasant, and sometimes they are disagreeable. After the media-revolution and the globalization phenomenon many people have found themselves in abstract spaces, and thus have started taking new paths to adapt to the new world. However, climate and geographic conditions, culture and heritage, religious beliefs, government laws, economic and political situations, have all shaped new and combined spaces. In addition, the limitations of the new millennium have caused people to create fantasies about phenomena that they have never fully experienced. For example, both western and eastern perceptions of each other are based on unreal fantasies and presumptions. At the same time people in the east are projecting their own definition and understanding of what is a "western and modern" lifestyle. This has created chaos were people are trying to transform limitations into opportunities in order to enjoy their life.

In this collection, I have tried to show how such fantasies and dreams of modernity are being reflected in people's lives and urban identities in contrast against more traditional cultural manifestations. For the western audience, this collection will also provide a better understanding of urban culture and the spatial complexities that exist in Tehran.

Majid Karimi
Iranian Artist and Architect

More information regarding Mr. Karimi and his work can be found on his personal website www.majidkarimi.com

International Art &
Architecture Research
A s s o c i a t i o n
One of many vivid artisitic works of Mr. Majid Karimi