Architecture For The People By The People

Venice Biennale, May- November 2016.

  • Faryar Javaherian, curator
  • Sponsored by Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Faiznia Foundation and Lajevardi Foundation

In 2016 the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA) was supposed to prepare an exhibition on the theme of WATER for the architectural Biennale of Venice as a side exhibition to the official pavilion of Iran which was sponsored by the Ministry of Transportation and Urbanism. But in March it was obvious there was no time and no funds for curating such an exhibition. In April 2016, one month before the opening of the Architecture Biennale, the director of TMOCA, Majid Mollanorouzi asked me if I would curate an exhibition with TMOCA’s architectural works for Venice pro bono. I accepted the challenge.

Aravena who is a social architect curated the Biennale in 2016 and in order to be in tune with his theme, I chose to also make an exhibition on TMOCA itself, with a photo exhibit by Mohammad Reza Javadi and all the available plans and drawings. TMOCA is one of those buildings which had a significant impact on the lives of all Tehranis and is the best example of social architecture we have in Tehran. I wanted to re-create one of TMOCA’s galleries in the Faiznia pavilion, but because of lack of funds, this never happened. I also included an in memoriam celebration of Parviz Kalantari who had just passed away since TMOCA has several of his large mud-and-straw paintings of desert architecture – one of which I chose for the catalogue cover.

I also included four side exhibitions: the renovation of the Tabriz Bazaar, entirely done by the bazaar people themselves and which had just won an Aga Khan Award; the Ameri hotel in Kashan, renovated by Amir Anoushfar; Felice Ardito’s fictional meeting with Hafez and Kambiz Sabri’s sculptures.

The catalogue was in Persian, Italian and English, printed by Ehsan Lajevardi, the poster was designed by Mehdi Fadavi of TMOCA.

See the catalog (PDF).