The province of Khuzestan in southwestern Iran, where Babak Kazemi comes from, holds the largest oil and gas reserves in the world. Oil production has profoundly affected the development of the region in the 20th century. Strong business activity, profit making, and, at the same time, poverty, pollution, and warfare, have all been – and to some extent still are – the order of the day. In his attempt to showcase a fictional report to one of Persia's principal oil founders William Knox D'Arcy, Kazemi discovers the true realities of a business of exploitation. He approaches this history with caution and, given the sheer beauty of his works, this makes them all the more forceful in raising our awareness.
Starting back in 2003, Babak Kazemi has been paying repeated visits to the principal sites of oil exploration and oil refining in the south-west of Iran, aiming to open up D’Arcy’s eyes – and indeed those of the entire world – to the desolate state of the plant facilities, the working conditions and the environmental implications. Kazemi is intent on showing “what has
been happening to and in Iran since D’Arcy discovered the oil, and what this has
meant for the people, the towns and the country at large.”
AB43 CONTEMPORARY is presenting a selection of works for the first time in Switzerland.