Iran’s largest art installation encompasses a monumental message
10 feb 2014 by Ashton Chandler
Art in Iran: Tehran-based sculptor Hooman Mehdizadeh Jafari creates Iran's largest urban art installation to date made of tiny toy cars and with the help of the community.
On January 19th, 2014, Iran experienced the biggest art installation in the country’s history designed and created by emerging Iranian sculptor Hooman Mehdizadeh Jafari. This project was the result of his activity with a cultural campaign called "The Flying Classroom", in which artists and designers visit schools and host workshops to teach children from deprived regions of Iran how art can enhance their environment. For this installation, Mehdizadeh guided a team of 50 volunteers to install 5,200 toy cars side by side to form a gigantic 9x20 meter picture of Damavand Mountain, the tallest and most iconic mountain in Iran, in the Milad Tower Complex.
The toy cars were hand-painted by Iranian children from six highly polluted cities in the country and gathered in Tehran to bring attention to the fatal air pollution produced by actual cars that causes thousands of cases of lung disease and deaths every year. "As I was leading the team from top of the Milad tower, I was thinking to myself: the people who are installing each of these toy cars, are in fact the ones who put their own actual cars in Tehran's traffic every day and complain about air pollution in this city," he said. This is not the first large-scale urban sculpture by 28-year-old Mehdizadeh. His sculptures are based on natural subjects and are installed in Tehran and North of Iran. Geometry, especially fractal geometry, plays an inevitable role in his production process. To create the Damavand installation, he used a geometric pixelate pattern to represent the iconic mountain. Unfortunately, due to a thick layer of smog, the mountain can’t be seen from Tehran anymore. The site of the installation at the top of the Milad Tower Complex hill was aptly chosen as it provides a clear panoramic view of Tehran and its air pollution.
Though the art installation was only temporary, Mehdizadeh hopes its message is long lasting. Artists Rakhshan Bani-etemad, Reza Kianian, and Leyli Rashidi attended event and signed the toy cars they added to the others as they joined in the efforts to spread the artwork’s message.
The project has been captured in a short film by Reza Bahraminejad and Saeed Kianpoor.
Images courtesy of Mani Lotfizadeh, Khalil Emami.