SHAHPOUR POUYAN AT MUSEUM DHONDT-DHAENENS
© Rik Vannevel
Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens is proud to present Shahpour Pouyan’s ambitious installation Skyhigh is my place. Designed specifically for the museum, the piece is the culmination of over two years of intense research and development. The exhibition is the first solo presentation by the artist in a Belgian public institution. Skyhigh is my place partially fills MDD’s main exhibition space with wheat and inverts a largescale replica of a military control tower in its patio. By uniting these two elements, Pouyan summons the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and specifically his father’s involvement in this historic moment. At the height of the Revolution, Pouyan’s father, an electronic engineer for jet fighters, took part in a collective effort to plant wheat on his military base near Isfahan.
The short-lived farming operation at the military base stands for the many contradictions of the 1979 Revolution, where a technological obsession with airspace was combined with patriotic infatuations for rural land. Skyhigh is my place is the slogan of the Iranian Air Force since its founding in 1925. This line is one of the few slogans that remained unchanged after the Revolution.
“The dream of safe skies and harvesting the land remains potent for many Iranians. In Persian folk culture, if you have a nightmare, you always hope for the upside-down outcome of the bad dream to come true. The reversed air control tower, surrounded by heaps of wheat, illustrates a dream turned upside down.”
– Shahpour Pouyan