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Tehran Art Scene

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Artist: Zoya Tavakoli

Recently many young artists have been doing installation work but the one that I went to recently was different in a sense that it was a Performance Art and installation work. This was at Arte Gallery by Parham Taghioff who had staged his work using two video pictures on south-east and south-west side of the gallery room, one with his own picture in front of two satellite dish and the other one a picture of a lady in Chador and a face-band in front of a "haseer" ( mat curtain) with 10-12 large red apples in front of her. I found this picture most interesting and thought-provoking. But the main thing was on the opposite side, there was barbed wire dividing the room in the middle. Behind the barbed wires; there were two televisions sets one showing an eye of a man and the other an eye of a woman. This would run for about 10 minutes, and the camera seemed to have been focused on each eye at separate times. Then the there would be a switch between the two sets of pictures, and then the same again. On the north side of the room, almost towards the end, there were two huge square yellow wooden boxes within each of which two actors wearing white loose clothing and white eye band moved very slowly throughout the box and back again. The two actors continued doing the same from 5-8 pm everyday for five days. We thought that the actors must do some sort of meditation in order to be able to sustain such prolonged performance. The message on the invitation cards read as follows:

"Choir our legacy, fades and melts away, as tomorrow may never be".

Artist: Zoya Tavakoli

Personally I thought some aspects of the work was good and I am happy to see that young people are not afraid to experiment as this no doubt is the base and essence of future great works.

Other exhibition I went to see was the work of Zoya Tavakoli. Her works were mainly black and white and most graphic types. On the first glance one may think that they are all so depressing. Yet if one looked carefully, I thought, some showed signs of happiness, crazy as it may seem. I thought the one that I called "Dance of the Crazy-Camel-Trees" was great. Many were very clever, and generally the works had a good feeling and emotions about them. The lady artist comes from Shiraz, with beautiful stark black longhair and a very sweet yet strong personality and a gentle yet very determined character.

Artist: Zoya Tavakoli

If I was an artist then I would love for my works to be presented at Niyavarn Gallery. There are three large split floors with huge walls and above all great natural light. This is an ideal setting for displaying very big art works, and there are lots of room there for the visitors to stand aside and take a good look at the art pieces. These are besides fabulous scenery outside and a fantastic place to just step out for some fresh air. Abim is a group which was formed in recent times and has four members, Ms. Bahar Behbahani, Morteza Darebaghi, Pooya Aryanpour and Mostafa Darebaghi. The group theme is "Without Fear, Extra tranquility" some works did indeed truly follow that theme.

Artist: Zoya Tavakoli

However, personally as much as I liked the groups' pervious works at Tehran Museum of Modern Art in October 2002 and other places, I found this exhibition a little let down. Without a doubt they are very good artists but even Behbahani's daring work which reminded me of much darker O'Keeffe did not touch my heart. Nor did any of the four large pink canvases by Aryaianpour; but they made me realize how many shades of white you can see from one brush of white. Mostafa Darebaghi seems to have found a new working theme which he is experimenting with, and he did repeat it in different forms. I did miss Morteza Darebaghi's theme of capturing Persian customs and ancient figures which previously he had given a new life and made them likeable and interesting to modern viewers. I am sure the group will have many other exhibitions. The point is that once an artist presents good works, expectations will be set high. I strongly recommend that you take a look at their most interesting works by checking their site at

... Payvand News - 6/23/03 ... --

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