Signatures de livres

Enghelab Street, a Revolution through Books: Iran 1979
Hannah Darabi
Spector Books and LE BAL
Leipzig, Germany, and Paris, 2019
Iranian artist Hannah Darabi’s catalogue for LE BAL’s exhibition Hannah Darabi–Enghelab Street, a Revolution through Books: Iran 1979–1983 is a comprehensive and smartly designed book about books with a uniquely specific focus. Pinpointing the burst of photobook production in Iran between the fall of the Shah’s regime in 1979 and the postrevolutionary introduction of the Islamic State in 1983, Enghelab Street is impressive in range––reflecting both works of fundamentalist Islamic thought as well as those of radical political dissent––while remaining careful and precise in providing historical context. With an accessible, contemporary, large-format style, this paperback catalogue moves from the more traditional photobooks of the era to the largely anonymous—and soon-to-be highly censored—pre-1979 publications that reemerged post-regime, before closing out with Darabi’s own artistic interventions and thinking about these materials. “It’s a deeply researched and thoughtful presentation of materials that are mostly unknown and wouldn’t be accessible otherwise, even online,” recounts juror Drew Sawyer. “In many ways, this represents what I think catalogues should be.”