Indexical Operation of Orientalism in Contemporary Iranian Art

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ph.D candidate in comparative and analytic history of Islamic arts, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant professor, Faculty of Arts, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran

3 Faculty of Arts, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran


Problem statement: Iranian’s art has been evaluated from different perspectives during the past two decades, and some critics have presented its mainstreams as the reproduction of Orientalism discourses. This study attempts to investigate the specifications of finding common features between the characteristics presented for the production of such works of art and Orientalism functioning. To this end, the concept of index has been applied referring to the debates on the semiotics and art history for the critical reading of the reproduction of Orientalism discourse.
Research objectives: This research aimed at critical studying and at the same time extending the theoretical challenges of contemporary Iranian art focusing on the concept of the index. The main question of the current study was “what components shape the features of contemporary Iranian art and how indexing in the contemporary Iranian art corresponds with Orientalism discourse?”.
Research method: This research was descriptive-analytic and qualitative data analysis has been performed. The samples have been selected through purposive sampling method.
Conclusion: The extreme application of some of the elements and traditional motifs in Iranian art has an indexical functioning that creates the capacity for spatial isolation and situationality of works of art. Both spatial isolation and situationality are corresponded with Orientalism discourse.


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