Bahram is a Chicago based artist and educator. Born in Iran, a society with stringent regulatory control over all types of communication, Bahram developed a keen interest in understanding how the performance of individual actions could affect the outcome of our social encounter. Representation of the body is central to his works, becoming a tool for dissecting identity and the imprint of coded cultural language through the amalgamation of theory and practice.

Bahram's creative practice involves performance, installation, books, ephemera, social media, video and photographs, through which he examines the concept of impotent medium, such as texts that are incapable of conveying their intended message, destructed photos that are depleted from the iconic value of an image, and bodies that are unable to project the real identity of individuals. Within this destructive space lies an important and affirmative sentiment, which is the main objective in his relational practice: the possibility of relocating the meaning from the art object to the contingency of reception.

Bahram has shown nationally and internationally ranging from venues such as Toronto Media Arts Centre, Toronto, Canada; ArtHelix Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Gowanus Loft, Brooklyn, NY; St. Mary’s College, MD; East of West Gallery, Santa Fe, NM; Yerba Buena Center For the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA; Reed College, Portland, OR; Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR; Umpqua Valley Arts Center, Roseburg, OR; Plâtre et Moi Gallery, Paris, France; Laatik-komo, Jyväskylä, Finland; The Emergent Art Space, Kolkata, India; Aaran Gallery, Tehran, Iran; Fravahr Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran; Sazmanab Center for Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran.

Bahram's work has been reviewed and featured in Art Practical, PBS News Hour, Voice of America, The Santa Fe New Mexican, IranWire, Eugene Weekly, among others. His practice and research have been supported by grants and awards from the Tokyo Foundation for International Research, The Office of Research at the University of Michigan, Arts Endowment Committee at Indiana State University, Ford Alumni Center at University of Oregon, and Society for Photographic Education. He received his MFA from the University of Oregon, where he held a teaching position as an adjunct instructor of Art for 5 years. Currently he works as an Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the Indiana State University since 2019.

Works Cited:

28 January 2018

Bahram, who has visited Iran once in the past seven years, explores the complexity of social and political identity through his work, and in particular the effect of Iranian government surveillance and censorship on communication. [LINK]

18 June 2017

As an artist and photographer, Farhad Bahram is interested in challenges: What does it mean to be from a particular place, from a particular background? What do labels mean, and what happens if we ignore them, or tear them down? What does it mean to be a performer, and a member of an audience or an observer? What if the line between them is blurred? [LINK]

28 March 2015

...I centered the main trajectory of my work on examining the possibilities for transforming this determined correlation between medium and message into an ever-moving chain of relations with no fixed entities to hold onto. This effort introduces the communicative act as a subjective mechanism related to the inability of the addresser to fully express her intentions, but at the same time, her ability to enunciate a context for spontaneous realization. [LINK]

University of Oregon, School of Architecture and Allied Arts

May 13, 2013

He tweets in French, English, and Farsi. He’ll set up an empty chair in front of his own chair on a busy sidewalk just to see who stops by, documenting the results in photographs. His portfolio includes photographs of shopkeepers holding portraits of dead relatives; photo assemblages “created to raise suspicion”’; photographs gathered from dozens of artists and sold to benefit children with cancer, children in poverty, children in need of human rights protection. [LINK]

Born in Tehran, Farhad began his photography practice as a photojournalist in 2005 and had a unique experience in this field as it strengthened his belief in cultural activities on grassroots as basis for social practices and photography. [LINK]

Iranian photographer Fahrad Bahram has always been interested in observing the effects of governmental mistrust and tradition, whether it is in the form of his photographic work and scholarly research. [LINK]

Farhad Bahram’s piece, Reciprocal Subject (2012) complicates the view of its subjects... Bahram empowers the subjects and makes them anonymous, but they share in the creation of the work. Bahram and each subject simultaneously took pictures of each other in open public spaces, and Bahram arranged the resulting color photos on a board in an apparent order or system that mimics a scrapbook, with names appearing beside each photo. [LINK]

As a citizen of Middle East, I have been able to observe the effects of governmental mistrust of traditions, which in Iran result in the attempt to control every aspect of communication. Having grown up under such stringent regulatory control, I developed a great desire to use the potential of Art in reconstructing the conservative type of communication in the society. [LINK]

In 2015 the Sylff fellowship facilitated Bahram's project called Reversality. In collaboration with the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights in United Nations (OHCHR), this project proposed a sequential outline in three phases by inviting 15 international artists from different cultures to work on the idea of self-identification. [LINK]


last update: May 2021


last update: August 2021

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