By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
Shohreh Mehran is one of my favorite Iranian artists ever. Her new show at Golestan gallery is something that I had been looking forward to for a long time. She is a kind of artist that I find has passion and dares to be out in the open, and yet be graceful; and at times even she plays a trick or two on the viewer to show how 'shaytoun' (naughty) she can be. All of this may be observed better and more profoundly when her sense of irony and strange humor with regard to realities of life is noted. To me she represents a woman who feels and cares deeply, and at the same time she carries on with great strength and passion, not only her art but also her life. She is in my opinion one of the most modern painters around.
Shohreh takes her time between exhibitions, which I admire. She puts up a show when she is ready not when the calendar calls.
I have one of her works from her last show some years back, which I've titled Tehran. Almost everyone who comes to our house somehow ends up appreciating the work. It is simply a faded looking work which we have seen so often all across Tehran; a huge plastic sheet in front of a building site so that you don't see what is going-on on the other side!
Now, back to new things; the first thing that went into my head as I walked inside the gallery to look at her works, was how much her works are contemporary, real and very stylish. She reminded me of David Hackney and the wonderful retrospective that I went to couple of years ago at George Pompidou in Paris. For me, her work represents and speaks so much about the real life that we live here in Tehran and nearby places. There is a sense of deep reflection when I see these new works.
I was delighted to learn that Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art has purchased two of her works from this very exhibition. It seems that she is on her way to be not just well-known but also properly appreciated for the wonderful work that her art represents. You may see some sample of her works here, including the two purchased piece. My best wishes go to her, and I indeed shall look forward to seeing her next show.
The next show I went to was glass works by Ms. Maryam Zandi. Ms. Zandi became well-known with her books of portraits of some well-known and some not so famous Iranian scholars/writers, ladies and gents of the Iran pen, and artists and painters some years ago. She has a great ability to move from one thing into another. She brought out several nice calendars with her work, which were quite popular. She has been always at something different and something new. In the past two years she has changed direction and once again reinvented herself through her works as she has been trying her hand in the art of glass work
Many of the work reminded me of a combination of Iranian Glass handicraft style and late 60s and early 70s glass works in Europe, made with a new touch and delicacy. There were many pieces of works, with many lovely bright colors mainly. Here I have a few pictures form these works for you so that you may draw your own opinion.
The last artist I visited is a lady sculpture who displays her work every once in a while in the privacy of her home. I am sure when you see the pictures, you may understand why. Like some other artists, she is breaking the boundaries of acceptable norms and dares to challenge the limitations that have been set forth.
I found Goli Tavakoli's new show more mature and even calm compare to her past works. Her last show in the new series, about fifteen month ago, was more about making a statement and I detected a sign of rebelliousness in them, which goes quite well with the artist and her character. I found the new works more about feeling, sharing and being. The works speak to me of a degree of peacefulness with the world despite the troubled waters. This does not mean in any way that there is a sound of any kind of surrender, but rather a better and more profound symbol of control.
Goli works with bronze and the well-defined fine lines of her finished statues reveal her design and architectural background and 'ostadds' (master)'s influences. She has worked under such masters as Mr. Tanavoli who is very well-known on three continents. Goli's works speak of softness from a position of strength. I liked the curved of the hair and the bodies of some of the statues, and I thought the harmony that existed between them was clearly visible. I learned that she has been commissioned to do a major statue for one of Mahaak's new hospitals. She told me that she has seen the place and is thinking of doing something that hangs out from the air. I look forward to the day that I am invited to go and see the finished work!
1. Mahaak is a charity foundation that helps and assists children with leukaemia and their family to deal with the care of these unfortunate children
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