Sazmanab was founded in 2008 by artist and curator Sohrab Kashani and was originally based in Sadeghiyeh district in the Western part of Tehran. Sazmanab, in Persian, means Department of Water. Sazmanab's complete title,
Sazmanab Department of Creative Treatments and Circulations, is based on Sazmanab's main mission of circulating art and culture locally and internationally and expanding the knowledge, appreciation, and practice of contemporary
arts and cultural discourses in Iran and the region. In 2008 and when first opened, Sazmanab was located in a small apartment (Sohrabís home-studio), directly across the street from Tehranís Department of Water for the Sadeghiyeh
district. Since its official founding in 2008 and throughout the years Sazmanab has continued to focus on relationships with other institutions, museums, galleries, and practitioners outside Iran. And to accomplish this, Sazmanab
has often relied on its use of the internet and online communication tools such as Skype, which from 2008 to 2010, and before starting the Sazmanab residency program, served as its main means of communicating with institutions
and practitioners outside Iran.
-- Sohrab Kashani
Sohrab Kashani is an interdisciplinary artist and independent curator based in Tehran. Sohrab is the Founder and Director of Sazmanab. Over the last decade, he has played a major role in the creation of a number of other spaces in Tehran. As an artist, Sohrab has exhibited internationally and both as an artist and cultural producer has held numerous talks and presentations at institutions and universities worldwide including: Asia Society, New York; Tisch School of the Arts NYU, New York; Stanford University, Palo Alto; International Studio & Curatorial Program (iscp), New York; Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh; Pomona College, Los Angeles; University of California, Irvine; Delfina Foundation, London; Gasworks, London; Haus am Waldsee, Berlin; YARAT, Baku; and Global Art Forum (Art Dubai), Dubai.
Sohrab Kashani is also a graphic designer and a web designer and developer. Since Sazmanab's opening in 2008, he has designed all Sazmanab's related graphics and web materials. He mainly works with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe
The original logo represented Sazmanab's main room at its first venue in the Sadeghiyeh district. Initially, Sohrab made handmade and drawn graphics for Sazmanab. The current logo is the digital remake of the original logo
from 2008. The newer gradient graphic is mainly used as Sazmanab's logo on social media websites and the internet to represent Sazmamab and its wider range of projects, but for published materials and official use, the main logo
Sazmanab.org was launched in 2009, and since then has undergone several redesigning.
Ab/Anbar was an art gallery Sohrab co-founded in 2014 as a new project alongside his Sazmanab and co-ran until 2015. Sohrab made Ab/Anbar's graphics until 2015.
Over the years, Sazmanab has been located in a variety of different locations all around Tehran and has also held some of its program off-site in collaboration with other art spaces and venues.
-- Sazman-e Ab
In 2009, Sazmanab expanded into a fully functioning project space where a variety of events and activities were held in collaboration with local and international artists and curators.
In 2008 and when first opened, Sazmanab was located in a small apartment (Sohrabís home-studio), directly across the street from Tehranís Department of Water for the Sadeghiyeh district.
In 2010, in order to better fulfil its mission, Sazmanab was renovated and turned into a white cube. This included the blocking of the apartment's main room's windows and the closing of its open kitchen. The windows were
still visible from the outside and the apartment still looked like a home to those in the building's courtyard and outside in the street.
--- Home / Studio
During daytime, Sazmanab was a fully functioning art space and at nights was Sohrab's home where he lived, worked, and held parties with his friends.
In early 2014, Sazmanab began the relocation process to an old building on Khaghani street near Darvaze Dolat in downtown Tehran. Sohrab together with his soon-to-be partner at Ab/Anbar (a gallery which later he co-founds
and co-directs) Salman Matinfar and long-time friend and collaborator at Sazmanab Abbas Vahedi acquired the entire building on Khaghani street. His plans were to expand his Sazmanab and start the new gallery space Ab/Anbar with
Salman in the same building. Sazmanab had its reopening and the launch of the new Ab/Anbar gallery in October 2014 with an exhibition by Iranian-born artist Babak Golkar.
The neighbourhood was made up of a number of woodshops, car repair businesses, and storages.
Before Sohrab, Salman, and Abbas acquired the building on Khaghani street, the building was home to two Tehran-based visual artists and other tenants and was owned by a private owner.
The renovations at Sazmanab-Ab/Anbar took over a year to fully complete. The renovations were to keep the building in its original shape, reinforce its structure, and make few minor adjustments for its future use as an art
The furniture for Sazmanab-Ab/Anbar was designed by designer Dorsa Javaherian using used and new wooden pallets and metal structures.
--- Sazmanab and Ab/Anbar
Ab/Anbar co-founded by Sohrab and Salman in October 2014, started as a commercial art gallery in the same building as Sazmanab and by hosting (and at times co-hosting with Sazmanab) exhibitions by Iranian artists in the diaspora.
Ab Anbar historically is a traditional reservoir or cistern of drinking water which was greatly used in Iran before there was city water system. Ab Anbar was among a series of water-related names and titles that Sohrab had used
in the past at Sazmanab to identify different parts of the Sadeghiyeh apartment and its related elements. The name was also a great fit for the soon-to-be-launched art gallery, as the new Sazmanab-Ab/Anbar building was also home
to its own traditional Ab Anbar in its basement. Sohrab and Salman's vision for Ab/Anbar at the time was to create a representation for the professionally working Iranian artists in the diaspora inside Iran which at the time was
almost non-existing and to introduce their at-the-time fresh outlook of running and maintaining a Tehran-based art gallery. Ab/Anbar was located on the first floor of the Sazmanab-Ab/Anbar building and Sazmanab set up its programming
on the second floor, the basement (where the actual Ab Anbar was), and later also on the third floor. Sazmanab-Ab/Anbar opened in October 2014 with an exhibition by Iranian-born artist Babak Golkar put together by both Sazmanab
and Ab/Anbar and curated by curator and Sohrab's longtime collaborator Elham Puriyamehr. Later, Sazmanab and Ab/Anbar together set up exhibitions by artists Anahita Razmi and Reza Aramesh. After the Reza Aramesh's exhibition, the
two Ab/Anbar founders-directors had a falling out and split later in 2015. In 2015, Sohrab sold his share of Ab/Anbar but still continued his programming of his Sazmanab in his designated spaces in the Khaghani building. In early
2016 and after he held his last Sazmanab exhibition at the Khaghani building - the Tehran retrospective of Harun Farocki, curated by Reza Haeri - he sold his share of the building and moved out completely. He is no longer involved
with Ab/Anbar, the Khaghani building, and their related programming.
M-40 was Sohrab's studio and his smaller and semi-private art space which he launched in 2013 after the renovations on the new Sazmanab-Ab/Anbar building on Khaghani street had just started.
--- Home / Studio
M-40 was also Sohrab's new home after he moved out of the original Sadeghiyeh apartment.
Over the years, Sazmanab has held some of its programming off-site in collaboration with other art spaces and art galleries. As of 2016, Sazmanab no longer has its own venue and hosts exhibitions and events off-site in collaboration
with other spaces and venues.
- Residency Program
Shortly after Sazmanab's renovations in 2010, Sazmanab began its residency program. Sazmanab was the first residency program in Tehran. While some resident artists were housed in the apartment where Sazmanab was located,
other resident artists were provided with living and working space in other areas of Tehran. Since 2010, Sazmanab has hosted more than fifty artists and curators in residence.
Sazmanab's library has a variety of books, journals, and other publications related to art and cultural discourses and the social sciences. While there is an assortment of texts, there are specific sections dedicated to art
history, monographs on artists, and exhibition catalogues featuring the work of artists from Iran, the Middle East, and other parts of the world. The library also contains the publications produced by Sazmanab. As of 2016 and the
closure of Sazmanab's last venue, the library is only available privately and by appointment only.
In 2011, Sazmanab became e-flux's official distributor in Iran for their e-flux Journals and other publications.
- Digital Archives
The Digital Archives of Sazmanab included the documentation of all Sazmanab's events and programmes, archived CCTV footage of Sazmanab, and Sazmanab's video-art archive Lost in Teh(e)ran. The Sazmanab Digital Archives was
available on a touch-based computer at the Sazmanab former venue in the Sadeghiyeh district and was accessible to the public who visited Sazmanab. The system and the core programming of its application were done by Sohrab.
-- Lost in Teh(e)ran
Lost in Teh(e)ran (later renamed and reformated as Tehran Video Forum - now Tehran Video) was a database of Iranian video work and film formed by Sazmanab in 2011 and made public in 2012 and throughout 2013 before Sazmanab's
relocation in 2014. Founded in 2011, Lost in Teh(e)ran was an innovative platform for artists working with film. It encompassed a full database of historical and contemporary video works and represented the depth and range of the
moving image within Iran. Since its inception, the mission of Lost in Teh(e)ran was to collect and catalogue a large variety of different works that were made available for screenings, exhibitions, and acquisitions. The database
was a resource for artists, educational institutions, museums, galleries, cultural centres, and collectors. This archive was made available to the public through Sazmanab's venues.
Most of Sazmanab's exhibition openings and events were streamed live and was accessible through Sazmanab's website. Viewers were able to chat and comment online as broadcast happened. At other times and when there was no
programming at Sazmanab, the live-stream would stream Sohrab at his home living and working out of his bedroom/office of Sazmanab.
- Sazmanab TV
Sazmanab TV was launched in 2011 and produced features of exhibitions in Tehran and interviews with Iranian art practitioners. Sazmanab TV also made studio visits and off-site live transmissions part of its program. Sazmanab
TV is planned to re-launch in 2019 with a new set of programming and a major change in its original format.
- Exhibitions / Events
Since 2008, Sazmanab has set up more than hundred events and exhibitions at its venues and in off-site locations. Events included talks, presentations, lectures, panels, discussions, workshops, performances, screenings, book
launches, and audio/visual performances. As of 2018, Sazmanab focuses on creating its own projects and publications, and no longer produces or hosts events and exhibitions that are not part of its main projects' outline.
Sazmanab often holds talks and presentations at universities, museums, and institutions and takes part in international panels, seminars, and forums.
Sohrab Kashani and Sazmanab thank all Sazmanab's interns and volunteers (incomplete list accessible here: Interns and Volunteers
and everyone else who has helped Sazmanab over the years.