The Art of Dying – Artist Azadeh Akhlaghi Re-Creates Iranian Death Scenes

The Art of Dying

Blood spatters, warm corpses, and mysterious executions, oh my!

A new gory series of photographs by the Iranian contemporary artist Azadeh Akhlaghi, titled By An Eyewitness,  might prove to be difficult to scrutinize if you’re squeamish.

Yet investigating the images’ rich trove of historical-political crime stories is well worth risking an uneasy stomach.

Akhlagi is an artist who forces viewers to recall her nation’s treacherous and grisly pre-camera phone past by re-staging and photographing some of Iran’s most disreputable public massacres, freak casualties, and not-so-secret assassinations. The photographs are visceral, wrought with tension and an air of tragedy that eerily reflects the frailty of our human condition.

Tehran – Marzieh Ahmadi Oskuie, student activist shot by the SAVAK secret police. 26 April 1974.

Tehran – Marzieh Ahmadi Oskuie, student activist shot by the SAVAK secret police. 26 April 1974.

Atlantic Hotel, Tehran – Gholamreza Takhti, the Olympic gold-medal wrestler. 7 January 1968.

Atlantic Hotel, Tehran – Gholamreza Takhti, the Olympic gold-medal wrestler. 7 January 1968.

Chicago – Sohrab Shahid Saless, famed film director who died in Chicago from chronic liver disease. 1 July 1998.

Chicago – Sohrab Shahid Saless, famed film director who died in Chicago from chronic liver disease. 1 July 1998.

Tehran – Mahmoud Taleghani, humanist, Ayatollah and founder of the Freedom Movement of Iran. Huge crowds descended on the morgue to pay their respects; many fainted, and many of the windows were broken. 10 September 1979.

Tehran – Mahmoud Taleghani, humanist, Ayatollah and founder of the Freedom Movement of Iran. Huge crowds descended on the morgue to pay their respects; many fainted, and many of the windows were broken. 10 September 1979.

Ahmad-abad, Iran – Mohammad Mosaddegh, prime minister from 1951-53 whose government was overthrown by a coup implemented by the CIA. After three years in prison, he was held here under house arrest until his death. 5 March 1967.

Ahmad-abad, Iran – Mohammad Mosaddegh, prime minister from 1951-53 whose government was overthrown by a coup implemented by the CIA. After three years in prison, he was held here under house arrest until his death. 5 March 1967.

Tehran – Mirzadeh Eshghi, political writer killed by two mysterious gunmen at his home. 3 July 1924.

Tehran – Mirzadeh Eshghi, political writer killed by two mysterious gunmen at his home. 3 July 1924.

Evin Hills, Tehran – Bijan Jazani, leftist intellectual who was executed in mysterious circumstances. 18 April 1975.

Evin Hills, Tehran – Bijan Jazani, leftist intellectual who was executed in mysterious circumstances. 18 April 1975.

Faculty of Engineering, Tehran University – Azar Shariat Razavi, Ahmad Ghandchi, Mostafa Bozorgnia were three students murdered by police. They are commemorated every year by demonstrations, on what is now called Student Day. 7 December 1953.

Faculty of Engineering, Tehran University – Azar Shariat Razavi, Ahmad Ghandchi, Mostafa Bozorgnia were three students murdered by police. They are commemorated every year by demonstrations, on what is now called Student Day. 7 December 1953.

Atlantic Hotel, Tehran – Gholamreza Takhti, the Olympic gold-medal wrestler. 7 January 1968.

Atlantic Hotel, Tehran – Gholamreza Takhti, the Olympic gold-medal wrestler. 7 January 1968.

Mashhad – Colonel Mohammad Taghi-Khan Pesyan. The funeral procession of the popular military leader who was beheaded in 1921. His head was brought back to Tehran to prove his death. 7 October 1921.

Mashhad – Colonel Mohammad Taghi-Khan Pesyan. The funeral procession of the popular military leader who was beheaded in 1921. His head was brought back to Tehran to prove his death. 7 October 1921.

Southampton, UK – Ali Shariati, sociologist and revolutionary placed in solitary confinement by the government for 18 months, before public pressure called for his release. He was allowed to move to the UK; he died mysteriously three weeks later. 19 June 1977.

Southampton, UK – Ali Shariati, sociologist and revolutionary placed in solitary confinement by the government for 18 months, before public pressure called for his release. He was allowed to move to the UK; he died mysteriously three weeks later. 19 June 1977.

Tehran – Forough Farrokhzad, controversial poet who swerved her car to avoid crashing into schoolchildren, then crashed into a stone wall and died on impact. 13 February 1967.

Tehran – Forough Farrokhzad, controversial poet who swerved her car to avoid crashing into schoolchildren, then crashed into a stone wall and died on impact. 13 February 1967.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________All images by Azadeh Akhlaghi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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