The Pejman Foundation is pleased to announce the first exhibition in Iran by Franco-Algerian artist Neïl Beloufa with the support of French Embassy.

Opening on February 3rd 2017, the exhibition will inaugurate Pejman Foundation’s future flagship premises in the Argo Building, a former factory in downtown Tehran. The presentation will feature a site-specific installation conceived by Neïl Beloufa for the semi-derelict space. It is a combination of new architectonic constructions that organically extend and thread through the industrial location, with stand-alone elements expanding on the artist’s recent work for the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. A number of videos will be on display, the newest of which was shot in November and December on location in Isfahan, Iran, and is therefore premiered on this occasion. Beloufa’s inaugural exhibition is a major milestone in the Pejman Foundation’s plan to become a crossroads for Iranian culture and the cultures of other countries around the world by bringing important contemporary artists from the international scene to Tehran.

The artist

Like many artists of his generation, Neïl Beloufa takes an interest in how the web, social media and emerging technologies have undermined and transformed the traditional value and hierarchy of images, our relations with them, or how we use them. While defining himself more as an “editor” than a sculptor or cineaste, he creates site-specific sculptural or architectonic environments that are themselves ambiguous. Beloufa plays on the edges of solid and void, high and low tech, hierarchies of form, function and materials to build an actual setting for his filmed video works as well as for live-stream closed-circuit images. His videos often subvert familiar cultural artifacts or audiovisual forms, such as different kinds of TV shows, questioning truth and falsehood, turning the codes upside-down while involving non-professional actors in a “low-tech teleplay aesthetic {…} The main raw material of his films, sculptures and installations is what actually exists and how it is interpreted,” explored “without moral judgment, cultural cynicism or any kind of irony.”

Born in France in 1985, Neïl Beloufa obtained a National Diploma in Visual Arts from the Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2007. He has also studied at Cooper Union, New York, and Ca‌LArts, Valencia. Recent solo exhibitions include the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, MOMA in New York, the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin and ICA in London. His work has also been shown in important group exhibitions: the 2014 Taipei Biennial, the 55th Venice Biennale, the Biennale de Lyon in 2013 and the 2012 Paris Triennial.

The exhibition

In November and early December 2016, Neïl Beloufa and his team of collaborators occupied a Qajar-era palace in Isfahan (Iran) to produce a new video work, stemming from and deconstructing the codes of so-called “reality-TV” shows such as Big Brother or Secret Story. The video calls their bluff: if “reality-TV” was actually real, it might easily end in catastrophe. The movie will be premiered at the Pejman Foundation exhibition, along with several other video works such as Real Estate (2012) or Monopoly (2016). Neïl Beloufa specifically asked to construct his installation in the abandoned factory before restoration by the Foundation, to create a dialogue with the current dynamics of urban development, construction and renewal in the city of Tehran. Beloufa’s work will build on, mirror and extend the existing fabric, and link the different spaces together with pipe-work recalling the factory’s former drink-manufacturing activities. This new site specific setting will also include important new works shown recently, as part of its off-site Here and Now exhibition, by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The exhibition will be accompanied by a program of talks and presentations by guest speakers, including Neïl Beloufa himself.

The space

The Argo Building is a former factory dating back to the early 1920s. Despite its unique architectural features, tall chimneys and strategic position at the heart of downtown Tehran, the factory has been neglected for almost four decades. The Pejman Foundation has decided to revive and reconstruct the Argo to create a non-commercial exhibition space, library and cultural center. The reconstruction process started in September 2016 and is scheduled to go on for some time. However, at the request of first guest artist Neïl Beloufa, the inaugural exhibition will take place in the unrestored Argo Building.



Cloé Perrone

Cloé Perrone is an independent curator. Since 2011, she has been curating shows at the Fondazione Memmo Arte Contemporanea such as Camille Henrot Monday (2016), Shannon Ebner Auto Body Collision (2014), Sterling Ruby Chron II (2013) and Sara VanDerBeek (2012). She curated Camille Henrot solo show Luna di Latte at MADRE, museo d’arte contemporanea donnaregina, Naples (2016). She also co-curated the 5th edition of Volacano Extravaganza organized by the Fiorucci Art Trust, London titled I Will Go Where I don’t Belong in Stromboli, Sicily (2016). Perrone was a Research Scholar at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art where she focused on Arte Povera and Post-minimalism. She wrote the chronology for Marisa Merz The Sky is a Great Space, the artist’s first international retrospective. She received her M.A. from CCS – Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Martha Kirszenbaum

Martha Kirszenbaum (b. 1983, Vitry-sur-Seine, France) is  a curator and writer based in Los Angeles where she was the director and curator of Fahrenheit, an exhibition space and residency program in Los Angeles (2016-2014). She graduated from Sciences Po in Paris and Columbia University in New York, and worked at Media Department of MoMA in New York (2007-2006), Photography Department of Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris (2007) and at the New Museum in New York (2010-2008). Additionally, she collaborated with the Center for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, the Belvedere Museum/21er Haus in Vienna, the Marrakech Biennale, Palais de Tokyo in Paris and the Kunsthalle Mulhouse. Kirszenbaum is a regular contributor to Flash Art, CURA, Kaleidoscope and Mousse among other publications, and has led seminars on curatorial practice at the Université Paris VIII and Parsons, Paris.

Myriam Ben Salah

Myriam Ben Salah (b. 1985, Algiers) is a curator and writer based in Paris, where she has been working on special projects and public programs at Palais de Tokyo since 2009, focusing especially on performance art, video and publishing initiatives. She is the Editor in Chief of KALEIDOSCOPE magazine’s International Edition. She co-edits F.A.Q., a periodical image-only magazine with artist Maurizio Cattelan, and her writings have appeared in numerous international art publications. Her latest curatorial projects include Cool Memories (Occidental Temporary, Paris, 2016), Like the Desert Miss the Real (Galerie Steinek as part of « Curated-by », Vienna, 2015), Dirty Linen (DESTE Foundation at the Benaki Museum, Athens, 2015), Shit and Die (Palazzo Cavour as part of Artissima collateral program, Turin, 2014).

Hicham Khalidi

Hicham Khalidi is currently an associate curator for Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette in Paris where he is involved in commissioning works in art, design and fashion. Next to this he is an interlocutor curator of ACT II for the Sharjah Biennale 13 in Beirut and working on exhibitions for a.o. Bozar in Brussels and the province of Flemish-Brabant. Khalidi was also one of the attachees of the 20th Sydney Biennale and curator of the 5th Marrakech Biennale. From 2015-2013 he was the head of exhibitions at STUK Art Centre in Leuven, Belgium. Hicham Khalidi is a member of the board of q02-, Overtoon and SPIN, centers and collectives for contemporary music, performance and theater based in Brussels. Khalidi lives in Brussels, and splits his time working in Paris and Rabat.

Leonie Radine

Since 2015 Leonie Radine organized several exhibitions as curatorial assistant to the director Yilmaz Dziewior at Museum Ludwig in Cologne. She recently curated an experimental exhibition in six private homes under the title HERE AND NOW at Museum Ludwig. Home Visit for which she invited Neïl Beloufa among five other international artists and collectives. Between 2010 and 2013 she worked as curatorial assistant to Susanne Pfeffer at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. She was the studio manager for Andreas Slominski, teacher at the Humboldt University, freelance writer and copyeditor for various art institutions between 2013 and 2014, as well as curatorial assistant to the commissioner of the Austrian Pavilion at the 56th Biennale di Venezia in 2015 with Heimo Zobernig as artist. She studied art history in Marburg and Berlin.

Azar Mahmoudian

Azar Mahmoudian is a curator, researcher and educator based in Tehran. She has curated projects in various institutions internationally. She was part of the curatorial team of the 11th Gwangju Biennale (2016) in South Korea. Azar is part of a collective that co-ran kaf, an independent space focusing on discursive and educational programs on Art and Theory in Tehran (2015-2010), and is a lecturer at Tehran Art University. Her research develops from her ongoing engagement with display structures and modes of the political imaginary regarding exhibiting formats. Azar holds an M.A. in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths, University of London.