By: E1 Art Gallery administrator
E1 Art Gallery in northern Tehran opened its doors to art lovers in April of 2016 and set its goal to introduce and support up-and-coming young artists while showcasing the work of the masters before them. As an art gallery, E1 seeks to share with its patrons and guests the long hours an artist dedicates to each of his or her creations through trial and error, and all the moments of joy and sadness behind each work. For E1 Art Gallery, only then, and not just by purchasing a piece of art, can one appreciate the artistic soul blown into each brush.
Featuring and exhibiting the efforts and experiences of an artist have the additional benefit of motivating those artists and encouraging them to continue their creative endeavors with more enthusiasm and even higher ambitions. In that spirit, at the E1 Art Gallery, presentation and display of the works of an artist to a large audience also assumes this important role in the creative process by making the art public and visible to all.
The selection process of artwork for the E1 Art Gallery is carried out in collaboration with experienced and expert consultants. Most of the time, the performance background of an artist does not play a role in this decision and only the collection and its statement are examined. Aside from considering the quality of the artwork, the selection committee has to match the artist and the pieces of art with the policy and goals of the gallery, also paying attention in the process to the needs and preferences of its audience. From early on, aside from exhibiting modern and classical Iranian art, the E1 Art Gallery has been an advocate for young artists and their work. Eventually, this support has led to the creation of a new space within the premises offering more facilities for display of young artists work in new media fields.
E1 Deux is a space with a different approach at the heart of the Gallery. It is founded on the belief that contemporary art in Iran is still going through a trial-and-error period, and it is experimenting in the realm of cutting-edge interweaving of genres and abstract shapes. This is a space where all clichés and old routines are forgotten, and both the artist and the art enthusiast can revel in new concepts, interpretations and presentations of art. It is where connections between body, mind, experience, performance and artistic expressions go hand in hand with events and social changes happening around, and where the ever forward moving contemporary art is created.
E1 Deux proudly seeks to exhibit the works of modernist and “deconstructive” artists of Iran who belong to the fourth generation of its contemporary art scene, and who interpret their body of work in a variety of modern forms, including conceptual art, video art, performance art, and digital art.
E1 Art Gallery holds special exhibitions in addition to its regular shows as part of its annual programs. Occasional group shows in collaboration with charities such as Daheshpour Charity and Ifa Crowd as well as an exhibition for the benefit of working children are among these special programs each year. E1 Art Gallery also holds an annual commemoration of the late artist Abbas Kiarostami in the month of June, in the period between the anniversary of his birthday and of his death. Aside from supporting art and artists, all the earnings of E1 Art Gallery are donated to charity and humanitarian activities.
Although these annual events were held for three consecutive years from 2017 to 2019, they all had to be temporarily suspended with the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020.
In the meantime, the E1 Gallery did not stop all its activities during the pandemic when the government imposed new rules for social gatherings, thus limiting exhibitions and gallery openings. With a history of charity and community work, E1 soon organized two calls for action in its role as a promoter of art for social welfare. The first such call was organized in April 2020 for the appreciation of the dedicated medical staff at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus during the epidemic. A number of works submitted by several artists were donated to the intensive care unit of hospitals where patients infected with the coronavirus were being treated and cared for. Tehran Hospital under the management of Professor Minoo Mohraz, the head of the Iranian Center for HIV/AIDS and also happens to be a member of the national committee for the fight against the coronavirus disease, and the Nikan Hospital were two of the hospitals which were recipients of these artworks by E1 Art Gallery.
The second call to action was related to a video art project to address the limitations on in-person exhibits during the pandemic. As social networking platforms such as Instagram have expanded to encompass bringing together people with similar interests and have turned into main drivers of social communication, E1 decided to post online videos of artists’ collections for public viewing on both their website and Instagram. Such videos were usually shown on monitors in regular gallery exhibitions and making them available on the Internet was simply another way of displaying the artwork. To create excitement and better participation by artists and increase viewership, a trio of judges from the United States (Golnar Touski and Gelare Khoshgozaran), and the Netherlands (Baharak Dehghan) were tasked with selecting the top three artists whose prize was solo exhibitions at the Gallery once pandemic restrictions were lifted. The goal was to encourage artists to continue their work and stay active in this period of global sluggishness by providing them with a virtual platform to display their art, and in a way to observe the effect of current conditions on their work.
E1 Art Gallery hopes that by continuing such efforts, the fourth generation of talented and gifted Iranian artists in visual arts will be introduced to the national and global audiences.