Exhibition Foreword: In 1925, a colonel from the Persian Cossack brigade, Reza Khan, seized power in Iran and was crowned king. He selected the name Pahlavi for his new dynasty, an attempt to associate his rule with the glamour of Iran’s pre-Islamic history” setting “in tone the monarchy’s use of the ancient past” where buildings “such as the central bank and post office were adorned with Achaemenid architectural motifs”. In 1971, in a further act of hubris, Reza Khan’s son Mohammed Reza Shah invited over 60 world leaders to Persepolis, the seat of Achaemenid power, for an anniversary festival to celebrate 2,500 years of Persian monarchy. The Shah addressed a speech to the empty tomb of the empire’s founder Cyrus II (559 – 530BC) praising him as the “first advocate of human rights”. In 1979, following the Iranian revolution less than ten years later, Ayatollah Khomeini had replaced Mohammed Reza Shah in what is now an Islamic republic.
- Text by Warren Pringle from the essay Ghosts of Duration (2011) for the exhibition by Shahriar Asdollah-Zadeh The revolution continued: What lays in the abyss it has created. MIC Toi Rerehiko Gallery 28 January - 19 February, 2011.