Bahar Behbahani’s research-based practice interweaves archival materials, cartography, horticultural history and contemporary context to critique imperial structures of knowledge and power. Garden
of Desire (2023) is a sculptural installation inspired by the design of the royal Fin Garden, one of the oldest extant gardens in Iran. The artist’s miniature Persian garden reflects on the site’s various paradoxes of beauty,
hospitality and its auxiliary purpose for diplomatic and imperialistic negotiations. The project draws upon the writings of Donald Wilber, a Persian architecture scholar later revealed to be the CIA operative behind the 1953 coup to overthrow the democratically elected Iranian government. An accompanying
set of six etchings mediates the artist’s archival research to reclaim the heavily redact narratives in the historical construction of the Iranian landscape.