The market of Inverted truth

Persian Article Written by Arash Vahdati

به فارسی بخوانید

The present writing aims to outline some of the fundamental principals regarding Kolahstudio’s activities and our learnt experiences through all these years. Kolahstudio was first launched in 2004, when the social and artistic climate of the time was somewhat different from that of what we are familiar with today,especially in Iran. This artistic community was formed and developed based on a set of ideas and approaches which were one of a kind, entirely unconventional and innovative in the way of dealing with the current issues and realities of the time and in many cases it was faced with serious confrontations of the authoritarian powers in the art scene and mindset of that time, who not only then but still today unceasingly attempt to eliminate and crush any cutting-edge and independent notions and movements in order to hold out and to maintain their invincible dominance over the artwork created by artists.


Kolahstudio’s vision has always been based on literally free and independent artistic creations and innovations alongside solidarity among its artist members, who did not necessarily share similar viewpoints or the same artistic experiences but were nonetheless seeking new methods in the creation of their artwork to confront the bitter realities of that era. The experiences obtained in Kolahstudio have not only made an absolutely different  influence  compared to that of the ones in powers, but also succeeded in transforming into the leading independent and progressive street art movement in Iran, by depending  merely on the youth power and utilizing the emerging and ever-growing medium, the internet. it’s ,however, obvious that after a while the outdated though still extremely powerful and dominant monopolistic powers in the art scene not only in Iran but also in so-called western countries were alarmed and used their full strength to shut the door on this progressive and original movement. These suppressing attempts have escalated in the last five years, as the Iranian Graffiti art started to gain recognition in Iran and overseas. Such conspiracies have been in some cases effective and caused problems and struggles within the body of this artistic community. However, the core concept of this art movement has remained faithful to its main goal and the free intellectual values despite all the ups and downs it has been through.

 We  have come to realize the importance of observing our past critically and to learn from our experiences and to pass them on to the next generations, so they can also do the same and spread the word. We are living in an era in which the truth is inverted  and art in general and Graffiti and street art in particular is turned into a plaything in the hands of the ignorant and rapacious opportunists who not only have trivialized the true artistic and cultural influence of Graffiti and street art but also have hindered the rise of any progressive and independent movements by ruining the solidarity among artists. These profit-seeking dealers have complete dominance and control over almost all the media and monetary sources and are able to nip any independent voices in the bud and to divert any individual artistic movements to their own desired way and they do it so tactfully and in such a discreet and subtle manner that allegedly no one will get the slightest chance to know about it. Undoubtedly solidarity among any single individuals and in this particular case among artists to determine the fate of their final products which is the direct result of their own physical and intellectual efforts not only nullifies the art and media monopolies , but also openly contradicts their considerable revenues.

The filthy and grim reality of today’s world is so masterfully buried under tons of advertisements and media bombardments that has made it impossible to differentiate between truth and lies by investigating the root and cause of all this hostility towards art and independent artists. The mainstream capitalists try to minimize the humanistic and cultural movements to an ornamental phenomenon and turn them to trend of the day by inverting the truth and forcing it down everyone’s throat as absolute truth. In the world nothing can stem from nothing and everything comes to existence through a series of actions and reactions between the different elements and phenomena on this planet. Kolahstudio’s cultural and art movement should be observed and surveyed in its own time and context in order to be able to make the right and accurate judgement about its very essence and its artistic and intellectual associations with the contemporary art world as well as its cultural contributions in this field.

As soon as this  progressive and influential graffiti and street art movement came into being, the mainstream capitalists, by resorting to various media and taking advantage of the gloomy atmosphere of ignorance and unawareness, started to take action in order to sustain their dominance and to possess the original artistic products and to transform them into trendy tacky things, though devoid of any value and meaning, yet highly desirable and tradable in the same Media. At first they try to negotiate to gain your trust and make you cooperate with them but if they are faced by cases of fierce and mindful resistance, they intend to hide the truth or silence the opposing voices by boycotting them, falsifying the truth or spreading lies. They will raise false flags and leave the affairs in the inexpert corrupt hands, lest they interests and source of profit are threatened. For sure they do not care about the reality of a humanistic intellectual  movement. Why do they try to get attached to such movements? It is entirely clear that they just have their interest in the profits they can earn by getting involved in these movements. They try to hide their yearning for profit in a blanket of fabricated high-sounding titles like staging Graffiti and Street Art exhibitions in one city or another. Glittering and wily weblogs and websites, high quality, glossy books and catalogs, superficial interviews with oversized color photos, highly viewed facebook pages are some of the examples of such deceptions. The interested youth who are drawn to a particular movement blindly fall into the trap of gaining publicity and becoming famous by these illusive means. At this point the opportunists step in and under different false names and by empty insincere promises try to snare these soft targets. They will keep the ones who have sold out to the mainstream powers and proven to be obedient and kick out the rest.

Experience and history in general and in this particular case, the story of street art and graffiti in Iran have truly pictured this catastrophic condition. This ceaseless cycle must continue at any cost because the exploitation and abuse of human intellectual and  mental product is based on this idea and street art and graffiti is the new susceptible terrain whose products must be harvested and the large interests must flow into the the pockets of a small minority of tycoons. The lost and alienated players of this inhumane and destructive system are the ones who feed it and help it thrive. This  dominant system that is reigning over the Media and is behind the large-scale investments, is growing at an unprecedented frenzied pace in today’s world and is invalidating any art movement and devaluing the intellectual aspect of such actions and their influential attributes.

Our goal in Kolahstudio has always been to bring together the interested friends and artists who share the same vision and make them aware of the fact that no creative and inspiring movement will be made possible without a profound insight into today’s world and based on empathy and companionship between friends. The product of intellectual and physical efforts of the artists in our country can readily fall victim to exploitation by those who try to transform these artists into slaves and alienated puppets and they can achieve this cause by taking advantage of the current state of confusion as well as intellectual  deficiencies and finally financial shortcomings. It is clear that controlling separate individuals who are disconnected from one another and are  devoid of empathy with others is far easier than controlling a unified group of innovative and productive individuals with prominent inspiring works. This is what we have experienced personally and have learnt lessons from and the youth are uninformed about it.

The examples of such deviations and delusions are countless and so is the number of inflicted and entrapped individuals, but the main victim of this inhumane flow, dominating the media and cultural atmosphere is the true culture and cultural history of a nation. These trade-bound profit-raising plans along with the very negative historical features of present Iranian autocratic dictatorial society have led to the lack of empathy and absence of progressive cultural movements and the Iranian society is every day being driven to become a battle field where everyone opposes one another , struggling to earn personal short-term interests or to justify their psychological and physical weaknesses. Of course the main powers, orchestrating this social and economic show are living affluent lives in their invincible fortresses and take pleasure in watching the absurd  quarrels and clashes between these aimless desperate broke individuals who guarantee the  permanence and applicability of this system . as long as these separate and isolated individuals  are not united and are willing to act separately  and are absorbed to the misleading concept of graffiti and street art superstars and the other products of this amusement market , they will be incapable of acting creatively and influentially. The only way they can determine the fate of their art work and how it is presented is to get united and obtain a real insight about themselves and their surroundings. That’s the only ray of hope that we can cling to and wish for the emergence of a generation of innovative nonconformist artists who will make real contributions to the cultural infrastructures in the present society and to push back the constrained intellectual and cultural boundaries.

In Kolahstudio we have always tried in many different ways to be the voice of a truth-seeking and independent art movement in Iran, by writing and publishing articles, we knew will provide new windows and perspectives onto the possibility of creating humanistic art and by translating articles or interviewing artists whose Art and vision, we knew, could leave a profound influence and be a big source of inspiration for the youth interested in art. Definitely we have confronted numerous obstacles and experienced serious losses and hardship and in the meantime have had flaws but the identification of  these soft spots and problems has led to the expansion of our intellectual capacity and has broadened our experiences. Along this road we are trying to still be the truth-seeking voice and the independent , particularly  regarding Iranian underground art.

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