Saturday, March 24, 2012

Iranian Visual Arts in 1390 (March 2011-March 2012)

I usually prepare a new-year present for Neoresistance friends. I admit that I have been much detatched from Iran and its art in the past couple of years. But this BBC (Persian's) compilation of Iranian Visual artists' galleries, exhibitions, and auctions in the year past caught my attention and I decided to report it in English. Translations of titles are mine, unless I find the official title in English/French. I am not sure how comprehensive this review is; but it contains interesting highlights.

The year started with works of internationally known masters in Gallery 10 «گالری ده».

The filmmaker, Abbas Kiarostami exhibited a photo collection entitled "The Walls" (دیوارها); a collection of pictures of the walls Kiarostami has potographed in his travels around the world.

The Gallery also showcased the world-famous collection by the sculptor Parviz Tanavoli's entitled "Heech" or Nothing (هیچ) (listen to the artists speak in New York)

and the painting collection of Afshin PirHashemi entitled "Delusions" (??) (گمراهی‌ها). (The picture below is from his website and entitled XSeries, but I am not sure if it is this particular exhibition). This painter sells in Christi's auctions frequently, and his work sells as high as half a million dollars.

Of course, this magnificent opening of the year with the works of these world-famous artists did not mean that there was no governmental pressure on the art galleries. Lili Golestan, the owner of one of the most prestigious of Tehran galleries, complained to ILNA about lack of standard in the "censor's" policy (politics?), stressing that the official's taste often interfered with the agenda of the galleries (a complaint reiterated by the publishers as well). She stated that" in the past, the guidelines of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance were more clear cut, and there was a chance for appealing the decisions, but currently, there is a lack of accountability among the cultural bureaucrats".

Nevertheless, Golestan Gallery succeeded to hold an exhibition entitled "100 works, 100 artists" in July 2011, and the works of masters Iran Darroudi, Hossein ZendeRoudi, Parviz Tanavoli, Sohrab Sepehri, Farideh Lashai were presented next to starting unknown artists. In the opening night, the gallery sold 25 pieces, one of which a work by the contemporary artist Parvaneh Etemadi collecting 6000 dollars. A sample of her work below.

Another highlight for the Iranian visual arts was the opening of NYC's Metropolitan Museum's Islamic Treasures, and exhibit over 50% of its works from Iran. In 2009, Parviz Tanavoli had donated a sculpture from his Poet's collection to the museum to enrich the Islamic Arts section of the museum. Mohammad Ehsai (the 73 years old calligraphist--see his poster below) and Hossein Nasr (American-Iranian Islamic philosopher) were featured in the opening.

Another good news was the opening of a permanent exhibition of the paintings of the "michelangelo of Persia" Kamal-ol-Molk and unveiling his never-seen-before work dating back to the 1900, a portrait of his doorman in Paris (picture below), in Iran's national museum and library.

Iranian artists made strides abroad as well.

The catroonist Kambiz Derambakhsh(کامبیز درم بخش)held an exhibit in Paris and the success of his work published in the French magazine Elle, led to the French publisher Lafon to publish his work (below) in a book. (Like his facebook page) In the coming months, he will be holding an exhibit with the theme of Paris supported by the municipality.

Also, the AB gallery in Switzerland has held exhibits of the works by contemporary artists Samira Hodaei (سمیرا هدایی), Samira Alikhanzadeh (سمیرا علیخانزاده) and a separate exhibit including the works of Farideh Lashai (فریده لاشایی) (see example below) entitled Simply Words? (If you click on this link you can see the Gallery has quite a few Iranian artists in resident).

According to BBC Persian, in September, the Rio de Janeiro's biennial held a tribute in honor of Bahman Jalali, and exhibited 120 of his photographs. I cannot find any reference to this biennial in Rio and BBC has been a bit sloppy lately. But there has been such a tribute in Germany in the Sprengel Museum Hannover.

In London, the exhibition of Parviz Tanavoli's collection Poets in Love on the Austin/Desmond museum was so successful that the exhibition was extended by 10 days.

Here's a list of other events:

Third sculpture symposium in Milad Tower, where 12 Iranian sculptors and 5 artists from Sweden, Japan, Greece, Georgia, and Syria got together to sculpt stone to represent the Isalic/Iranian character of Tehran municipality.

Art galleries seem to have had satisfactory sales, notable is anZarak (زرک) exhibit by Parviz Tanavoli's modern jewelry students sold about 80 pieces by 21 artists for about 17,000 dollars in total.

One of the highest prices in Sothby's auction of Iranian master's work went to a painting by Sohrab Sepehri, valued 325,000$s, and selling in a Sothby's auction in London for 624,000.


Anonymous said...

Amazing as always ... You add so much prestige to the Iranian contemprory art and culture ... Constellation o wellchosen samples andf beautifully worded texts, Thanks

goatman said...

Thank you. . .