Address: No.7, Zanbagh St., Keresht, Tehran-Pardis Hwy.
Contact: Shahrzad Changalvaee, Hedieh Ahmadi
+1(203)690-9653 (Shahrzad Changalvaee)
+98(912)521-0209 (Hedieh Ahmadi)
Open Hours: 9am-5pm for phone-calls.
How is the project operated?
Bon-Gah is a non-profit artist-run platform and collective, based in Tehran and Keresht.
How long has it been in existence?
Bon-Gah started as an art book publishing project by Mahmoud Bakhshi in 2004 and through time was expanded into a wider project for collaborations with group of artists. Since summer 2016, Studio Bon-Gah has provided space to host artists, to use the studio space for their projects and researches.
What was your motivation?
Our main motivation is to provide a platform, which is run by the artists themselves, an alternative space free from commercial structures and gallery-oriented art scene. Our strongest motivations are collaboration and dialogues between artists, writers, filmmakers and researchers.
Number of organizers/responsible persons of the project.
The core mainly includes four artists but usually other collaborators join us for organizing and planning.
How are programs funded?
The program is yet not funded and artists manage to cover costs themselves. Artists and guests who join us for the residency will contribute a minimum for bills and maintenance expenses.
Who is responsible for the programming?
All core members are co-directors and we did not wanted to name anyone the “director.” We wanted to practice a non-hierarchical structure in which collaboration is possible through bringing more suggestions. Usually for each project or proposal, someone is in charge and the others collaborate, contribute or simply help.
What kind of events are usually organized?
Bon-Gah works in various activities, including shows, open studios, artist-talks, publishing art-books and book-launches, etc.
Number and average duration of exhibitions/events per year.
Last year we had an open-studio and art tour in Studio Bon-Gah in which six artists presented their works including installations and performance. The show was up for two-weeks for audiences to visit by appointment after the open-studio. Last month we participated in FullyBooked book fair and exhibition in Dubai, which was a great experience.
How is your programming determined?
Though Bon-Gah core members are not all based in Tehran, but we are in constant touch and we make general decisions together. Because so far we have not been funded and have limited budgets, we sometimes have to concentrate on limited projects.
Do you accept proposals/submissions?
Yes. We are open to proposals and projects. Each guest, collaborator or artist-in-residence who wants to join us, usually comes with a proposal, suggestion or idea. The residency is not based on project evaluation but on possible collaboration and the needs of both sides, even if someone is interested to join us just for observation or research on further projects. Bon-Gah’s priority is productivity, and that is what we are interested in.
What is your artistic/curatorial approach?
As artists, each of us pursue our own practices, but what brings us together are mostly projects that we think would be innovative for the community and open up conversations.
What’s working? What’s not working?
Being an artist-run space, Bon-Gah is free from a lot of commercial structures which influences decision making and strategies. We function more like a commune! At the same time, it becomes difficult to expend our activities with limited budgets, so we are looking for financial contribution from other institutes and foundations.
What kind of role do you hope to play in your local art scene or community?
We hope to be a space for non-commercial and critical thinking, and serve a role as an alternative place for artists to experience new possibilities. We think productivity is as important as the conversation, and we hope to suggest it to the art scene.
What idea are you most excited about for the future?
Collaborations! Currently we have couple of curators and artists joining us and we hope to exhibit couple of artistic and curatorial projects in the next few months. Also we are excited for our new titles coming out, one is a book on Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, through a conversation with Kamran Diba, the architect and the director of the museum before the revolution of 1979, which we printed last year in Persian, and the English version will be released in the next few months.
Images courtesy of Bon-Gah.