On Dec. 16, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) will present The Birthday Party —the first U.S. museum exhibition dedicated to Dubai-based artists Ramin Haerizadeh (b. Tehran, 1975), Rokni Haerizadeh (b. Tehran, 1978), and Hesam Rahmanian (b. Knoxville, 1980). Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian: The Birthday Party is on view at the ICA through March 27, 2016.
The trio of Iranian artists—two brothers and a childhood friend—live and work communally in a shared house, using their domestic space as a site for creative production. Combining their works with others that they collect actively, the artists have constructed an exuberant environment, in which every surface is decorated with color and pattern, and every corner contains a unique assemblage. For the ICA, the artists will create an on-site installation that extends this technique to the gallery. The exhibition will bring together their collective and individual works with those of a diverse, multi-generational group of artists.
The title of the show, The Birthday Party, is borrowed from Nobel-prize winning English writer Harold Pinter’s play of the same name, which features at the center of its plot a birthday party for a man who does not know it is his birthday. Earlier this year, the three artists staged a performance in a vacant Dubai gallery that took The Birthday Party as a point of departure. During the performance, they shuffled around the space in costumes made of long prayer robes that obscured their vision, spilling paint across a floor they constructed, while unwrapping presents and making accumulative sculptures out of their contents. In the ICA’s Buttenweiser gallery, the artists will reassemble the remaining material from that performance—including the painted floor, the improvised accumulations, and video documentation of the action—in combination with a diverse group of new works and a selection of works by other artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Hassan Sharif, Bahman Mohassess, and Ree Morton. The exhibition, like the artists’ house, is both improvisational and accumulative, weaving together the intimacy of their collective life with their critical engagement of a globalized contemporary culture, all staged provocatively within the walls of an art institution.
Organized by Assistant Curator Ruth Erickson.
Support for Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian: The Birthday Party is generously provided by Lori and Dennis Baldwin.
About the artists
Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh have lived in Dubai since 2009, after the Iranian government raided the home of one of their collectors. At the time, the brothers were in Paris and, fearing imprisonment, they have never returned to Iran. Hesam Rahmanian joined the Haerizadehs, and the three artists have worked together in a home/studio in Dubai. The artists have exhibited individually and together internationally over the past six years. Their collaborative projects have been presented at the Sharjah Biennial 10 (2011), Isabelle Van Eynde Gallery (2012, 2014), Carnegie International (2013), Kunsthalle Zürich (2015), Callicoon Fine Arts (2015), and Brisbane Festival (2015). In 2014, the three artists participated in the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s residency in Captiva, Florida.