Dastan is pleased to announce Neda Saeedi’s solo exhibition titled “Garden of Eden Moving; A Petrified Tribe” at Dastan’s Basement. The exhibition will open on Friday, December 27, 2019, and will be open for public viewing through January 17, 2020. This is the first exhibition of works by Neda Saeedi at Dastan. Her work has been previously exhibited at several galleries, art spaces and museums, including Extra City, Antwerp; Luleå Biennial 2018, Lulea; Ludlow 38, New York; Bonner Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn; Folkwang Museum, Essen and Savvy Contemporary, Berlin.
Neda Saeedi (b. 1987, Tehran, Iran) works mainly with sculptures and installations. Neda Saeedi’s sculptures’ materiality, whose diversity depends on the theme of her works, plays the role of narrativity in her installations. In her work, she is “engrossed in urban landscapes, the relationship between the human body and architecture: the value, materiality, power/powerlessness and ownership of the body in relation to the construction of a building or the expansion of urban development projects.” She also aims to “address history, the relationship between forms, materiality and concepts.” Neda Saeedi initially studied classical sculpture under the direction of Raffie Davtian in Tehran. She later moved to Germany and studied at Berlin University of Arts (Udk) under the advisory of Prof. Hito Steyerl, graduating in 2017. Neda Saeedi lives and works between Berlin and Tehran.
“Garden of Eden Moving; A Petrified Tribe” is a multimedia installation. In the work, Neda Saeedi, explores a 1972 development project that started under the governance of the second Pahlavi monarchy on a large piece of land in Shushtar, Khuzestan Province, Iran. The development project sought to “civilize” Bakhtiari Tribe nomads, forcing them to work in the sugar factories and to live in Shooshtar-e-Noe (lit. “Shushtar New Town”). The project included three different sub-projects: an ‘imported’ sugar cane farm; a sugar refinery factory (Karoon Agroindustry); and Shushtar New Town (Shooshtar-e-Noe).
These construction plans became a symbol of the regime’s fight against the Bakhtiari Tribe and an example of institutional predetermination of ways of living and the deliberate shaping of space and of people —the construction of cities and infrastructure with the purpose to socially, culturally and politically control people by making them solid and immovable.
Neda Saeedi’s “Garden of Eden Moving; A Petrified Tribe” investigates such aspects of liquidity and solidness (as physical, economic and political terms), and it tries to make these peer dynamics clear as well as making them visible and touchable. The installation examines the moment that the “Medusa of industrialization petrifies livelihood and the economy becomes an abstract concept rather than tangible material.”