In Sharghzadegi, Anahita Razmi (b. 1981, Hamburg)’s second solo exhibition at Carbon 12, the multi-disciplinary artist based in Berlin confronts the term Gharbzadegi with the fictional term Sharghzadeghi. Used by Iranian intellectuals to describe the ill-fated relationship between the West and Iran, Gharbzadegi is a pejorative Persian term variously translated as “Weststruckness”, “Euromania” and “Occidentosis”.
The exhibition is an act of geopolitical observation as well as personal introspection, where the artist wonders about the loss of Iranian cultural identity through the adoption and imitation of Western models in politics, education, arts and culture.
Departing from the original use, Razmi‘s proposition for a counterpart concept deploys shifting historical and contemporary connotations in a variety of ways, questioning definitions of East, Middle and West. Razmitravels along the Silk Road to find Chinese brand pirates ripping apart the rhetoric’s of T-shirt slogans and luxury fashion, deconstructing Western languages for Iranian markets, then wraps up the famous “East Coast – West Coast” conversation between Nancy Holt and Robert Smithson, positioning it somewhere between Christo and Jean-Claude meets religious watchdog and broadcasts advertisements for her own persona.
In doing so, Razmi allows for a distanced look back at Orientalism today which she found in diverse places, leaving the viewer to decide which East, he or she is confronted with. East of where? East of what? Globalized trade meets globalized art world, where stereotypes are still persistent in very different ways.