Middle East & Africa

Elham Rokni
The Wedding

“The Wedding” is the centerpiece of a series of works centered on a film of the artist’s parents’ wedding in 1978, the year before the Iranian revolution that gave power to a religious fundamentalist regime. Struggling to remember the details and the date of the event, Rokni’s relatives inadvertently embellish and recreate the excitement, confusion, and eventual disappointment of those historic months in Iran. The uncertainty about the wedding date seems to mirror the confusion of the historic turmoil about to sweep Iran. The video appropriates segments of the 2012 Hollywood film Argo—in which a CIA agent attempts to rescue six Americans held hostage in Tehran—to visualize parts of the story recounted by her relatives. Rokni voice-over narrates the video where she describes the confusion around the wedding date, which remains unresolved at the end of the piece by her family members. Through the misremembering of the family induced by the chaotic moment, Rokni achieves a powerful portrait of the construction of political and intimate histories.

Born just after the Islamic Revolution, Elham Rokni (b. 1980, Tehran, Iran) grew up in the politically unstable Tehran. Rokni immigrated to Israel at the age of 9 and today she is living and working in Tel Aviv. In her drawings and video installations, she repeatedly constructs and deconstructs imagery related to her childhood memories and her family photo album from her family’s time in Tehran. Her work explores an intricate and multifaceted reality to challenge the boundaries of the existing borders—both physicals and politics.