- Individually scheduled press tours for “Living in Two Times: Photography by Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi”
- [Open to the public] Aug. 6–Jan. 8, 2023
- Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
1050 Independence Ave. S.W.
- Carol Huh, associate curator of contemporary Asian art
“Living in Two Times,” on view Aug. 6–Jan. 8, 2023, features the work of Bahman Jalali (1944–2010) and his wife and closest collaborator Rana Javadi (b. 1953). Noted for their sharp documentary images and haunting photomontage works, the artists are among the most influential figures in the development of late 20th-century photography in Iran. Driven by the medium’s powerful—and fragile—relationship to memory, Jalali and Javadi created an unparalleled visual record of a tumultuous period in their homeland.
This exhibition features images by both photographers from the iconic series Days of Blood, Days of Fire, capturing events in Tehran during the revolution in 1979, and images from Jalali’s Khorramshahr: A City Destroyed and Abadan Fights On, drawn from his years spent on the Iran-Iraq warfront. Throughout his career, Jalali returned continually to his project of observing the changing lives and landscapes of Iran, focusing in particular on the fishing communities of the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea.
In addition to their documentary projects, Jalali and Javadi preserved late 19th- and early 20th-century archives, which they used as a basis for creating vivid photomontages that explore the rich history of photography in Iran and question the role of the medium in shaping collective memory.
This will be the first museum retrospective in the United States that offers a glimpse of Jalali’s extensive practice and the first to be presented together with a selection of Javadi’s evocative work from the late 1970s to the present.
“We are honored to have worked with Rana Javadi on the preservation of several thousand negatives assembled by Jalali and entrusted to the NMAA on long-term loan. Through his and Javadi’s now iconic images, we get a glimpse of a significant archive and the complex histories that continue to shape both Iranian and global sociopolitics. We are especially pleased to present Javadi’s photographs alongside Jalali’s, and to recognize their extraordinary legacy.” — Carol Huh, associate curator of contemporary Asian art
Note to editors: Members of the media can contact Jennifer Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, or to schedule a time to speak with the curator and tour the exhibition.