Heja Rahiminia

Cleaned books - 2020

This body of work is the result of the research on censorship in art books in Iran. During the years that I studied photography at the University of Arts in Iran, many foreign books were bought by the university every year, but there was no news of them until a few months after the purchase. During this time, these books were sent to a unit called Book Control, and people whose identities were always unknown to us carefully examined all the pictures in the books. They should have censored the nude or semi-nude image wherever they thought it was to break the norm, or sexually incite students, or unlike the Islamic Sharia. Depending on the person who censored those books, the severity of the censorship varied, sometimes the whole naked figure was covered without her face being seen, perhaps because the images were so obscene to the censor man that he did not want the audience be even more curious! Even stranger than this, it was censoring kisses and physical contact between men and women. Sometimes few images could survive because those images were so abstract that the censor man did not notice! This covering of images, which was done with different techniques of drawing, painting, scratching, pasting labels and even tearing, looked like a work of art and everyone created his own artwork with his delicacy and aesthetic by destroying the image. Filtering and censorship by sifting the contents has always limited access of students to the original images of paintings and photographs of the history of art, and the only way to see what was behind this curtain before passing through censorship was to access smuggled books or connect to the free internet through anti-filters.