Babak Golkar

Babak Golkar

The Return Project

September 24 - November 8, 2014

Babak Golkar, Assisted Reconstruction, 2014, Paper cut-out from the original framed print (Fair Trade), straw, plastic bottle, water and watercolor, 31 x 25 x 8 cm

Babak Golkar - The Return Project

The Third Line is pleased to present a critical new body of work The Return Project by Babak Golkar, the artist's second solo show in Dubai. A break from his previous works, The Return Project is an assemblage where readymade consumer articles are dissected, reconstructed and represented within the commercial conditions of their wholesale environment – questioning the structure of contemporary art practices.  

Babak has developed a distinct practice that engages critical investigation and renegotiation of spaces between cultural and socio-economical registers. With The Return Project, the artist seamlessly operates inside, and positions his work within, the parameters of a commercial system, interjecting the value constructs governing the contemporary art world. The project dismantles the artistic object and the artistic persona within their own contemporary systemic conditions by skewing the established points of references and relationships that seemingly authorize how and where the true value of art resides.

An object is purchased from a store and brought to the studio for photo documentation. The object is then dissected, collaged and reconstructed into a new consumer article and photo documented in its new state. The two photographs, forming a diptych, are printed in the same scale as the original object. Throughout the process original tags and labels are kept intact. The new object, now declared as an art work by the artist, accompanied by the tags and receipt and a hidden note stating "This is to authenticate this object as a work of art, signed" are then returned to the store for a full refund. The store’s return policy (often 7-10 days) determines the timeframe for the studio process. The returned object – that is, the art object - enters and circulates in the inventory of the store and is once again available for sale, but at the store’s determined price. The leftover cut-off pieces from the reconstruction process are reassembled to form a residual object to accompany the diptych. A small gesture in the large scheme, each action is planned and executed around a particular concept and is autonomous. Aside from the method that determines the project, each piece/action zooms in on a contemporary issue at stake, ranging from geo-politics and global economy to cultural shortcomings and art historical limitations.

Taking a stance, yet equally embracing the inherent anonymity, The Return Project, operates within and disrupts the limits of policies in systems that offer goods in a competitive market. The Return Project employs notions of performativity through two, often disproportionate, contexts – that of everyday retail and the rarefaction of the gallery context. 

ESSAY: Experiments with Discontinuity, by Sara Raza (pdf)

Project Space: Farah Al Qasimi, The World is Sinking 

Babak Golkar


November 10, 2011 - January 12, 2012

BG_Untitled (Azadi Tower )_2011_Acrylic Sheets And Wood _137x 147.5x 12.5cm _Section _650

Parergon is Babak Golkar’s first exhibition in the region, bring a unique and thought provoking challenges in architectural design and sculpture. The series is comprised of objects that resemble interrupted or deformed frames. As the frames are not closed, the viewer is able to view the cross sections and explore the distinctive forms that they represent. On a careful examination, the section cuts reveal identifiable architectural silhouettes of well-known structures, such as the Hagia Sophia and the Dome of the Rock.

The title of the exhibition comes from the studies of French philosopher, Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) who developed the theory of ‘deconstruction’, with his work having been labeled as post-structuralism and associated with postmodern philosophy.