The Promessa, a 1970s cocktail bar, is to be reopened in Tehran - not as the glamorous location it once was, but as a slick showroom for art, fashion, and corporate receptions - a heady mix of profit, culture, and metropolitan swagger. By and by, a hidden agenda among the key players emerges, involving an international network with gruesome intentions. Join the narrator, a young man with artistic ambitions who has no wish to disappoint his cosmopolitan backers, as he frantically struggles to open the Promessa on time. Shamelessly opportunistic, he turns local painters into stage props, militia members into video artists, and a spate in prison into a career opportunity. This book takes a frenetic, compelling look at modern Tehran, conspiracy theories, political fashions and the omnivorous international art world.
Tirdad Zolghadr is an independent critic and curator born in 1973. Aside from the field of contemporary art, Zolghadr has worked in journalism, translation and documentary film. He is also a founding member of the Shahrzad art & design collective.