Ispahan Flowers Only Once
Bahar Behbahani’s work looks into cultural landscapes both historically and in a contemporary context, posing urgent questions that consider the ways in which people negotiate space and placeArtist Bio
Ispahan Flowers Only Once is a project comprised of a long-format video and building a community garden in the city of New York. The video explores the artist’s personal relationship with American scholar, Donald Wilber, and his duality as a historic expert in Persian gardens and a spy who secretly orchestrated the 1953 CIA coup in Iran. The community garden, inspired by Persian garden design, philosophy, plants, and flora will bring people together to take part and re-activate the history by gathering and gardening through conversations, screenings, readings, and performances around politics and poetics of the garden.
Bahar Behbahani’s work looks into cultural landscapes both historically and in a contemporary context, posing urgent questions that consider the ways in which people negotiate space and place. Within her research-based practice, she excavates historiography and archival materials to shift the inevitably violent interactions between knowledge and power in historic and imperial contexts to a poetic body of work. Through a range of media—such as painting, video, installation and performative talks—Behbahani layers Western archival matters, cartography, horticultural history, and our contemporary position into a new hybrid narrative. Behbahani’s practice juxtaposes personal and shared history to investigate the legacy of authority and the many grey areas that rooted in historical methodologies.
Behbahani was featured in a solo exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, as well as in the Moscow Biennale and the Shanghai Biennale. Her work has been featured in Thomas Erben Gallery, the Sharjah Art Foundation, the Queens Museum, The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, and the Tribeca Film Festival, among others. She has completed residencies at Time Equities’ Art-In-Buildings Program and Art Omi International Artists Residency. She was a MacDowell Colony awardee in 2017. Behbahani received a fellowship from Open Sessions at the Drawing Center, in New York, 2018-2020.