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Iran Unbowed in London: Three Generations of Contemporary Artists from Iran - October 10-24


To coincide with the 2009 Frieze Art Fair, Candlestar is working with the luxury five-star hotel Hyatt Regency - The Churchill, Frieze's official Hotel Partner, to present Iran Unbowed an exhibition of work by leading contemporary Iranian artists.

Maryam Shirinlou, Life Eternal, Mixed Media Collage, 2008

The work of Iranian artists is strongly represented in major collections, galleries and museums throughout the world. The ranks of Iranian artists include some of today's most innovative and original artists and their work features regularly in the sales of the world's major auction houses. All of the artworks in Iran Unbowed are available for sale.

Iran Unbowed is a response to the current popularity of Iranian art on the international stage. Alongside established Masters such as Abbas Kiarostami, Farideh Lashai and Parviz Tanavoli and leading mid-career artists such as Pooya Ayranpour and Samira Alikhanzadeh; Iran Unbowed features two artists - Hossein Cheraghchi and Rasool Soltani - whose work has not previously been shown in London. Their work is rooted in the traditions and artistic styles of Persian art; yet each of the artists demonstrates a clear, if widely varied, level of engagement with developments within contemporary Western artistic practice.

Iran Unbowed also coincides with The Magic of Persia Contemporary Art Prize (MOP CAP) Finalists' Exhibition at the Royal College of Art 15-17 October. Designed and administered by Candlestar for the London-based charity Magic of Persia, MOP CAP is the first ever prize for emerging Iranian artists.

Iran Unbowed - The artists

Shahriar Ahmadi - Born 1979
Ahmadi begins work with 'a complete absence of fear and love of art'. Using his hands to apply paint to canvas and board, he creates radiant, multicolour palettes on monochromatic backgrounds. His work, inspired by the poetry of Rumi, has won numerous awards and he has exhibited widely Iran, USA, China and London.

Samira Alikhanzadeh - Born 1967
Alikhanzadeh's work uses a very specific technique: the application of mirrors that draw the viewer into the work, causing them to reflect on questions of identity and heritage. Alikhanzadeh exhibits regularly in Tehran and internationally and has sold in prestigious auction houses around the world.

Pooya Aryanpour - Born 1971
Aryanpour's paintings, which he calls 'accidental events', create suspense and mystery with dramatic white shapes that hint at calligraphy, set against dark backgrounds. Aryanpour launched his international career with Candlestar's 2008 show
Whispered Secrets, Murmuring Dreams. He has also shown his work in galleries in France and Sweden.

Shahoo Babaie - Born 1980
Babaie's style is characterised by a distinctive palette of earthy or washed-out tones. He creates images that appear to occupy a space somewhere between realism and abstraction. Babaie is a member of the Iranian Society of Painters, and has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions in Iran and internationally.

Hossein Cheraghchi - Born 1984
Cheraghchi's paintings and drawings use minimal line and colour to create haunting, almost extrasensory, spaces. He first exhibited at the Karaj Jelveh Gallery in 2006 and his recent exhibitions in Iran have met with huge critical success.
Iran Unbowed will be Cheraghchi's first exhibition outside Iran.

Morteza Darehbaghi - Born 1969
Darehbaghi 's style has evolved throughout his career and is now defined by conceptual and abstract shadowy shapes and colours. The motifs and elements in his work hark back to a "great yearning for the past traditions and ancient civilizations". He has received numerous awards including the 4th Tehran Painting Biennial and the 3rd Islam World Biennial, and has held 19 solo exhibitions and participated in over 40 group shows worldwide. 

Yasmine Esfandiary - Born 1955
Esfandiary creates vibrant compositions saturated in colour that retrace and investigate icons and symbols of the Western and Middle Eastern cultures she was surrounded by in childhood. She has participated in numerous solo and group shows throughout the U.S. and Europe and currently lives and works in the South of France.

Untitled by Yasmine Esfandiary

Abbas Kiarostami - Born 1940
Kiarostami is one of the most important figures in Iranian film. He won the 1997 Palm d'Or for
Taste of Cherry and his films have received many other international awards. Kiarostami is also an acclaimed photographer. Iran Unbowed features two images from his iconic Roads series.

Untitled, from the the Road Series by Abbas Kiarostami

Farideh Lashai - Born 1944
Lashai's paintings assimilate many different artistic traditions from seventeenth century northern European art and, later, Paul Cezanne to the colour and heritage of Far Eastern painting. She aims to illustrate nature in a symbolic and ambiguous way creating the atmosphere of a landscape in the poetic artistic tradition of the Far East. Lashai is one of Iran's major painters and her work is represented in many important collections worldwide.

Mohsen Vaziri Moghadam - Born 1924
The 80-year old Vaziri was one of Iranian's first Modernist painters. His work is brave, accomplished and ambitious with periodical bursts of wit lending an energetic tempo to his visual melody. Grand in scale and slick in execution, he has taken his place in the first rank of artists who have followed their own unique course from depiction to abstraction.

Hich by Parviz Tanavoli

Parviz Tanavoli - Born 1937
Tanavoli is often described as the father of modern Iranian sculpture. His work explores and analyses the rich visual and literary traditions of Iran. It is featured in the permanent collections of the British Museum, MoMA, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran. His sculpture
Wall (Oh Persepolis) reached a record price $2.8 million in Dubai.

Tahereh Samadi Tari - Born 1981
Tari's compositions often depict solitary figures in ambiguous urban settings. Using a hazy painterly style, her works are often photographic, even cinematographic. Tari held her first solo show at Volta New York Art Fair in March 2009 and has exhibited several times in Tehran, London and New York. Her work was featured in the 2008 Contemporary Arab and Iranian Art sale at Sotheby's, London.

Maryam Shirinlou - Born 1966
Shirinlou's calligraphic paintings and mixed media collages are inspired by mystical Persian poetry, and are often eloquent reflections on the human form and spiritual condition. She has exhibited extensively in Iran and in the last eighteen months her work has been featured in the UAE, UK, China, Belgium and the USA.

Rasool Soltani - Born 1968
Soltani uses acrylic paint, on canvas or cardboard, to create images in the style of 1950s magazine advertisements. These images resonate powerfully in Iran where they hark back to a world disconnected from today's reality. Soltani's works which are hugely popular in Iran, have not previously been exhibited in a major Western city. (Pictured above).

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