The exhibition, entitled ‘Towards the Ineffable: Farideh Lashai’, presents a collection of 130 works including paintings, glassworks, drawings and video arts. It will be on display through February 26, 2016 at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.
Italian Germano Celant, Artistic Director of the Prada Foundation in Milan, co-curated the exhibition with the Iranian curator, architect, and filmmaker Faryar Javaherian. It marks the first time a non-Iranian curator of such stature has curated an exhibit at the museum since the revolution.
Javaherian and Celant have created an anthology of works by the Iranian modernist Farideh Lashai (1944-2013), who became one of Iran’s leading artists of the era. The Western works are being presented as context for Lashai’s retrospective. The intercultural exchange was achieved by hanging works by Western artists on gray walls, often across the room from Lashai’s works, which are hung on white walls.
Forty two works by Jackson Pollock, Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Francis Bacon, Cy Twombly, Claude Monet, Willem de Kooning, René Magritte, and many others will surround Lashai’s art. Iranian artists are also represented, as works by Manoucher Yektai, Sohrab Sepehri, and Nasser Assar are included.
“I want to force the audience to see the context,” Celant said. “There’s a self-portrait by Farideh, and there’s a self-portrait by Giacometti. We’re trying to say, O.K., the identity of the Iranian art is related to another identity in the world. That’s a dialogue that needs to be established, and that’s my function as a non-Iranian curator.”
In addition, Catherine de Zegher, director of the Museum of Fine Arts Gent in Belgium, and Venetia Porter, the Assistant Keeper in the Department of the Middle East at the British Museum participated at a one-day seminar held at the museum. Art critics and historians Media Farzin, Marjan Tajeddini and the curators also discussed and reviewed the exhibition at the seminar.
In October, the museum signed a tentative agreement with the German government to send 60 artworks from Tehran – 30 Western and 30 Iranian – to Berlin for a three-month show next fall, which would mark the museum’s first exhibition overseas.
About Farideh Lashai
Born 1944 in Rasht, Farideh Lashai was among the most successful Iranian artists, writers and translators, best known for her abstract paintings. She studied art at the Academy of Decorative Arts in Vienna, Austria, and held over 100 solo and group exhibitions in Iran and many other countries, such as Italy, Germany, the US, Switzerland, Britain and France. After a long battle with cancer she passed away in the Iranian capital, Tehran, in 2013. She was 68 years old.
Lashai particularly won fame for her lyrical abstract paintings and multimedia installations that combined video projections and canvas works. Her works were mostly inspired by her personal experiences and modern Iranian art forms.