Pandora's Box
19 April -8 May, 2013

Assar Art Gallery is pleased to present Pandora’s Box, an exhibition of paintings by Golnar Tabibzadeh. Pandora’s Box showcases works from a project that she has been engaged with for the past three years. The idea for the series ignited post Iranian 2009 election when she felt that people were all playing roles and were soon to forget who they truly were. The pre-determined notion of what is acceptable conduct and what is not in the Iranian society has led people into creating different faces or “layers” as Tabibzadeh illustrates in her 10 mixed media canvases. It is as though people have a different and unique layer at work, at home, in a supermarket, with friends, with acquaintances, with colleagues and so on.
This is how the idea of theatre and performance comes into play in her paintings. The only understanding of the people in her surroundings is through the roles they have taken on to play. Therefore, elements such as puppets, masks, ballet and opera outwear with dramatic make ups are presented in her works to show her personal confrontation and resistance to what is taking up the majority of the people.
In addition, more evidently, she uses animals to portray the animal within, the true self or the animal-like features that are hidden deep beneath. Heyvan[1], a derogatory remark in the Iranian culture is used to address someone who has done something so outrageous that can only be compared to the doing of an animal. Tabibzadeh wishes to bring those qualities out and in a way show her admiration for those very few who are not playing roles and are freely intuitive and courageously accept who or what they are.
The title of the exhibition, Pandora’s Box refers to the Greek myth of Pandora’s creation in Hesiod’s Works and Days. Though Pandora was instructed not to open the box she was given; impelled by curiosity, she opened it and all the evil contained in the box spread over earth; except for one thing that laid at the bottom of the box – the Spirit of Hope.
Similarly, Tabibzadeh is impelled to reveal the truth. Through this series, she tries to not only reveal what’s hidden deep down but to also suggest that once you know, there is no turning back. All that is left is hope. Hope for perhaps change or something better.
Born in Tehran, Iran in 1983, Golnar Tabibzadeh held her first solo show in 2004 and received her bachelor in painting from Tehran’s Azad University in 2005. Having lived in Istanbul, Turkey for the past couple of years and simultaneously working on this project, she has had the advantage of observing the inside from the outside which has allowed her to have a broader look at what she wants to represent.

[1] Literal definition is animal