Arabic and Iranian Visual Cultures

9 Nov 2012
9 Dec 2012


Opening: 9.11.2012, 19:00

Opening hours
: Daily 12:00 - 19:00
 | Free admission

The project RIGHT-TO-LEFT comprises an exhibition of contemporary graphic design, as well as presentations, lectures, discussions and workshops with main focus on the Arabic and Iranian contemporary visual cultures.
Before the revolutions that filled the streets in many Middle Eastern countries during the "Arab spring" and the earlier "green movement", another rather quiet revolution had been taking place in the region: that of modernising the Arabic and Persian script, its appearance, and the way it is written thanks to contemporary software and experimental visuals created by a new generation of skilled artists and designers. These "revolutions" are not unrelated, as much of the content and the messages of the Arab upheavals have been amply conveyed through written language, graphics, and illustrations—whether spread in the streets (graffiti, stencils, tags, banners) or through social media and the internet.

Curated by: Marina Sorbello and Antje Weitzel (uqbar e.V) / Sascha Thoma, Ben Wittner (Eps51)
Contact: write@right-to-left.net | www.right-to-left.net

RtL_Posterjpg - eps51


Mohammed Reza Abdolali | Reza Abedini | l'Atlas | Tarek Atrissi
 | Nadine Chahine | Shahrzad Changalvaee | Homa Delvaray
 | Saeed Ensafi | Eps5 | Vahid Erfanian | Abou Saeed Eskandari | File Club 
Farhad Fozouni | Ganzeer | Diana Hawatmeh | Aria Kasaei 
| Sandra Kassenaar & Bart de Baets | Damoon Khanjanzadeh | 
Khatt Foundation | Kareem Lotfy | Mohamed Nabil Labib | Omid Nemalhabib | 
Maziyar Pahlevan | Maryam Palizgir | Peyman Pourhosein | Iman Raad
 | Florian Schick | Mouneer Al Shaarani | Medhi Saeedi | Kristyan Sarkis | 
Wissam Shawkat | Rambod Vala | Yanone | Pascal Zoghbi | and others

Project Idea

RIGHT-TO-LEFT — referring to the writing direction — examines the path the Arabic and Persian script is taking nowadays, spanning from the tradition of calligraphy and ornamentation to modern typefaces, and offers insight into the creative potential and the visual culture of these regions. The exhibition, designed to be travelling in different locations after the Berlin premiere in November 2012, will provide the local audiences with an overview of examples of contemporary graphic design that build on the rich visual heritage of Arabic and Persian culture. The exhibited art and design works are at the same time innovative and forward-looking presenting cross-cultural references and styles ranging from experimental typography and type design to street art and graffiti. The programme of events parallel to the exhibition will allow the invited designers and artists to exchange their view and their methods with the local public (general public and specialized audience within the workshops).


The central element of RIGHT-TO-LEFT is a four week exhibition in Autumn 2012 in Studio 1 at Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin (10 /11 — 10 /12). The exhibition is designed to be a travelling exhibition, with the possibility to adapt the exhibition design and the programme of events according to the characteristics of the hosting institution and the local context. The exhibition will include works by approx. twenty artists and designers, each showing some older, existing works and some newer projects produced specifically for the project RIGHT-TO-LEFT. All contributions entirely in Arabic or Farsi will be accompanied by translations. A special architecture will be developed for the presentation of the works with white, three-dimensional wall elements evocative of Arabic characters.
Furthermore, a series of posters will be designed and produced within the framework of the project. The designers and artists are to jointly develop a poster for the exhibition with a thematic focus that refers to the current political, economic or social upheaval situations in the Middle East. A special feature will be the use of bilingual typefaces and experimental styles.

Public Space

In addition to the exhibition space at Kunstquartier Bethanien, selected works will be shown on billboards in public space and will be spread guerrilla style in the public space and other cultural institutions in Berlin.

Programme of Events

The exhibition is to be complemented by an extensive programme of events to take place in Kunstquartier Bethanien, realised in collaboration with partner organizations such as the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO), the Berliner Kunsthochschule (Academy of Fine Arts) and the BBK (Professional Association of Visual Artists Berlin) print studio, involving artists and designers from the Berlin design and street art scene.
Saturday 10 November 2012, 18:00 – 22:00
THE PRINTS OF PERSIA — Visual Cultures in Iran
Presentations and discussion with Sharzad Changalvee, Aria Kasei, Peyman Pourhosein, Iman Raad (Teheran), Reza Abedini (Amsterdam). Moderation: Azita Ebadi (Teheran)
Thursday, 15 November 2012, 19:00
Discussion with: Don Karl (Berlin), Ganzeer (Cairo), Fred Meier-Menzel (Weimar / Cairo) and Mikala Hyldig Dal (Cairo). Moderation: Marina Sorbello (Berlin)
Thursday, 22 November 2012, 19:00
SONIC MAPS — Auditory Alexandria
Discussion about the “Alexandria Streets Project” with: Omar Hatem (Alexandria), Berit Schuck, Julia Tieke (Berlin). Moderation: Marcus Gammel (Berlin)
Thursday, 29 November 2012, 19:00
Presentation by: Huda Smitshuijzen-AbiFarès (Amsterdam)
Thursday, 6 December 2012, 19:00
Presentations and discussion with: Sandra Hetzl, Gabriela M. Keller (Berlin) and guests from Syria
Sunday, 9 December 2012, 14:00—18:00
FINISSAGE—Convergence of Two Script Systems
Presentations and discussion with: Nadine Chahine (Frankfurt), Eps51 (Berlin), Pascal Zoghbi (Beirut).
Moderation: Antje Weitzel (Berlin)

for more details about each event please visit the official site at: http://www.right-to-left.net/en/programme

Publication and Website

The various activities in the scope of the project will be communicated and documented primarily through an extensive internet presence (website, blog, Facebook profile). In addition, a publication in bilingual design and newspaper/magazine format, explains the background of the project. The publication will be available in the exhibition and at selected bookstores. Visitors can also purchase posters out of the edition produced exclusively for the project.

Initiators: Eps51
Funded by: Hauptstadtkulturfonds, ifa - Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen
With support from: Zentrum Moderner Orient
Cooperation partners: Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien | Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK)