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Featured Iranian Artist: Bita Fayazi

Source: Source: Tavoos Art Magazine

Iranian artist Bita Fayazi
Bita Fayazi
Born in 1962  in Tehran, studied ceramics and scultupre with masters of these arts

Group exhibitions:

2011 October, Obscure Stream of Life, But I am having my afternoon Cuppa, Gallery Isabelle Van den Eynde, Dubai
2011- Dubai Art Fair, presented by IVDE (Isabelle Van den Eynde) Gallery based in Dubai UAE
2010- Installation, The Grind Khak Gallery, Tehran
2009-2010, The 1st International Festival of Contemporary Art (FIAC) of Algiers, National Museum of Modern And Contemporary Art 2oo9, Abu Dhabi Art Fair, B21 Gallery, Dubai
2009, Iran Inside Out, Chelsea Art Museum, New York 
2009, Ra’d O Bargh (The Lightning), Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Kunstraum Deutsche Bank, Salzburg, Austria  2009,Ra’d O Bargh (The Lightning), Gallerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
2009, There Goes The Neighbourhood, B21 Gallery, Dubai UAE
2009, Dubai Art Fair, B21 Gallery, Dubai UAE
2008, The Messenger, Brugge, Brussles
2008, Naqsh, An Insight Into Gender And Role Models in Iran , Pergamen Museum, Berlin
2008, “Mahak” charity exhibition. Tehran, Iran
2008, “Hope” Charity exhibition, Dubai, UAE
2008, PlayGround, OrientsSans Frontieres, Espace Louis Vuitton, Paris, France
2008, Dubai Art Fair, B21 Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2007, Magical Nights in Dubai, Dubai, UAE
2007, Art Paris, France; Silk Road Gallery, Tehra, Iran
September 2007-January 2008, international art exhibition, Bette et Hommes, Parc de la Villette, Paris, France 
2007, Iranian artists Group exhibition, Within and Without, No More Grey Gallery, London, England
Ocotober 2006-January 2007, Diva,, Museum of Modern Art, Freigburg, Germany
2006, Road-Kill, New Territories, De Hallen, Brugge, Belgium
2005, When still a Child, XVA Gallery, Dubai, UAE
2005, Road Kill, Amazon Series, Rebell Minds Gallery, Berlin, Germany
2005, KiIsmet, 51st International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale
2004, The Yellow Silence of Nargess,  Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Gardens of Iran, Ancient Wisdom/New Visions. 

2004  The Mannequin, National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan
2004, Lizards, Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Arts, Contemporary Ceramic exhibition
2003, “Iranian Contemporary Artists” at Pietro Della Valle, the Italian School of Tehran
2002, On/Off (Abortion) Tehran Museum Of Contemporary Arts, 2nd conceptual art exhibition titled “New Art” 
2001,   Art Addiction Virtual Gallery,  The 7th International Female Artist's Art Annual

2001, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, First Conceptual Art Exhibition
2001, Barbican Center, London, UK, Iranian Contemporary Art
2001, "7 Ceramists",  Iranian National Commission for UNESCO, Tehran
2000, Ekbatana, Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center, Copenhagen, Denmark 
2000, "Falling Figures", Seyhoon gallery, Tehran.         
2000, Canadian Women's Club - Barg Gallery, Tehran
1999, Golestan Gallery, Tehran 
1996, Ceramic abstract objects, Golestan Gallery, Tehran
1994, Ceramic abstract formsm, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Tehran
1993, Embassy of the Netherlands, Tehran
1992, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Tehran
1989, Pafar gallery, Tehran. 

Solo exhibitions:
2011, Title, yet unkown? IVDE Galllery, Dubai
2010, Performance, installation and video projection titled Performance 1388/2010, Aun Gallery, Tehran
1993, Classic Gallery, Isfahan, Wall murals and abstract forms 

Group experience: 

2004, “ For Bam”, an installation of 7 crying angles, “The Fallen Angles”
2003, The Speed Bag Factory International Artists Residency Programme, Johannesburg, South Africa
2003, “Lucky Charms,” Gallery Golestan, Tehran
2003, “On The Road,” moving installation, Tehran
2002, Forum on “Cultural Practices In The Region”, Beirut , Lebenan
2001. Festival of the Culture and Civilization of Persian Gulf Coastal Communities, Gheshm Island, Iran

2001, Khoj International Artists’ Workshop, New Delhi, India
2000, "Children of the Dark City", Tehran
1998, "Experiment 98" Conceptual Art & Installation, Tehran
1997, "Road Kill,” Tehran
 Member of the jury for the the 8th Tehran Ceramic and Glassware Art Biennial in 2007 at Saba Cultural Centre.
A member of the selection committee and jury for the 7th Tehran Ceramic Arts Biennial in 2001 at the Museum of Contemporary Arts.
 Pirvate Collections:
Kismet has been purchased by Luciano Benetton for his private collection.
1998, Winner of special exhibition prize: Cockroaches, Museum of Contemporary Arts, Tehran.

Purple Scream

Bita Fayazi
In Search of The Mystery of Life

Bita Fayazi, one of the most active multimedia artists, was born in 1962 in Tehran. She studied ceramic art with masters such as Haj Abdollah Mehri, Mehdi Anoushfar, Roya Djavidnia and Ojan Sirousi and held her first solo exhibition, titled Wall murals and abstract forms at Classic Gallery in Esfahan in 1993. Then she turns to sculptures and studies with well known sculptors like late Yuness Fayyaz Sanavi and Ramin Seaa’dat Gharin, when she realizes that “three-dimensional conceptual work is her medium of expression” and the first thing she does is to make 200 crushed ran over clay dogs, arranging them in an installation called The Road Kills, then burying them all in a collective grave on which a high rise is built. The whole process is filmed, and years later she displayed an installation entitled the same in Berlin (2004)

When asked ”What gives her inspiration?” quoting Louise Bourgeois she replies: “Art is not about art. Art is about life. I like the mystery of all that happens around me.” With this intense curiosity, she draws inspiration from all the objects and living things around her.

In 1998 together with four other artists, they turn an abandoned old house near Hossynieh Ershad to a work shop and Bita makes a large number of sculpted crows and places them on top of used fruit crates in the house and on the roof of a bus station near it. Maziar Bahari produces a documentary of the whole process of turning the demolishing house into a workshop now called the Experience 98, an exhibition of Ephemeral Art (Art of Demolition). The installation which attracted a great amount of attention shows the effects of demolition on living beings. (Later Bita makes a lot of crows again for The Forum of Cultural Practices in the Region held at Beirut in 2002 and places them in an old house called “Zico” and on the roof of a bus station nearby and is amazed when she hears that there are now crows in Beirut.)

In this way Fayazi plays a significant role in bringing about a new art movement, attracting new audiences. She soon becomes one of the few women artists with a high profile in Iran’s art world and with her works exhibited in the West, she finds an international recognition as well.

In Children of the Dark City a multimedia installment of sculpture, video, photographs and painting about harmful effects of air pollution on children, she makes 34 plaster life size sculptures of children and tries to show an ideal world in which children are happily playing. This was the first project in the history of Iranian contemporary art supported by governmental and non-governmental institutes.

Among her other installations was 2000 glazed bigger than life size ceramic cockroaches inspired by the world these creatures had made in the sewage lines of a neighbor’s house and Archy, the cockroach created by Don Marquis, the American poet and author ‘living’ on his type-writer. ”The reason I devoted so much of my time to that pesky insect is basically my profound interest in the critter and I am fascinated with the fear they instill in the weak of spirit. How can anybody take a view on art if they don't understand its general context. These creatures have no positive role models in our fairy tales and bed-time stories. We never have this condescending and demeaning attitude towards any other insects.” And her next installment was a large number of life size lizards placed on the floor of the installation space (Johannesburg 2005, Tehran 2004) in such a way as to associate a battle field.

In reality by symbolic application of living beings which nobody likes, Fayazi tries to play up the follies of human beings. The peak of her playfulness is perhaps in On the Road, performed with three other artists. Bita’s sculptures were fastened in the back of two moving vans, touring around Tehran with the intention to find new viewers (school children, drivers, shopkeepers, road sweepers, tramps and...) in addition to art-lovers and elite who frequent art exhibitions. We see more or less a similar experience in her Playground performed for cultural space of Louis Vuitton in an exhibition called Orient Without Frontiers (Paris, 2009). A Citroen with toys pouring out of it with a stuffed camel behind it.

Her two other group experiences in public art are Lucky Charms (Golestan Gallery, 2003) and For Bam (2003) taking place in a warehouse in the center of Tehran about the tragic earthquake in Bam. To sell their artifacts, the artists go around the warehouse like hawkers. Fayazi’s other piece for the event was Fallen Angels, an installation of seven crying angels in a dimly lit space by a purple-blue neon light on top of a wall toward which all the angles were facing.

Kismet, exhibited at the 51st Venice Biennial (2005) is an installation of golden babies hanging at different heights from the ceiling, writing the word Kismet in the air and the source, which simultaneously can bring to mind the fate of the mother-creator after giving birth, deprived of substance, in pieces and shattered.

She says she had been making sculptures of babies for seven years, inspired on first seeing a photograph of the burial of a baby shot dead in the war in Bosnia, with the bullet leaving a hole in his chest.

The image haunted her with the question: “What if the infant could somehow catch a glimpse of his/her fate?” And maybe even before that, which could have been her mental preoccupation while working on On/Off (Abortion); an installation of 10 transparent fiberglass placed in plexiglas boxes hanging from the ceiling with their umbilical cords tied to the ground, their hearts lit by tiny colored diode lights, flickering on and off to the sound of a recorded heart beat (Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, 2002).

Putting herself in the mental or emotional state of others, Bita who earns to unfold the mystery of life and find an answer to her questions, reaches a moment when she feels she is confident enough to develop her subject further. This is best seen There Goes the Neighborhood. “Initially, I decided to work on a small Iranian family... Then something more suggestive of our culture developed. Iran is not the black-white nation described by the media. The community is pluralistic with many colors, layers and complexities...” The work captures the mentioned plurality very well. “The personalities are those who have impressed me, even though they might not have ever seen me...” She began the work by shaping the personalities in plaster and clay, but ultimately makes them out of fibe glass and polyester with Rokni Haerizadeh clocking them with painting (2009, B Gallery, Dubai).

Fayazi depicts the innate qualities of her personalities in a subtle way with a touch of humor. She believes that she gives up the control over her message once the work leaves her workshop. She leaves the judgment to viewers. “It is to them to define the work. I always consider myself as a dead artist with no record of works done.”

She says her work is genderless. “There is no comparison between gender roles. When a child is born, it does not know whether it is male or female. The genes and principles of the society decide that...” She depicts this belief in depth in her installation, Creche II displayed in a group exhibition titled: Naqsh, An Insight Into Gender And Role Models in Iran , held at Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin's Pergamon Museum Berlin. The arrangement and coloring of fifteen babies on a spiked metal bed associating rug ornaments from ancient Iranian civilization points to her genderless approach, and the way the society suppresses individuality and determines the fate of our lot since the time of antiquity.

This symbolic dark ironic view on our species future Kismet (fate) is also clearly seen in her installation Barbecue (Aun Gallery, 2010) where a female figure is stuffed, as goats are for example for a lavish feast, a long table is set with the fillings on the serving dishes containing mostly babies and their beheaded begetters.

In City Scape, displayed in a group exhibition at Khak Gallery, Tehran, we see Fayazi once more turning to living beings nobody likes; pairs of scorpions, houseflies, praying mantis, black widows, chameleons, grass hoppers in a den like space invaded by spiders as though showing in practice how love and hate are the two sides of the same coin.

Whether we wear our life? is the motif of Mannequin (2004) who is clocked in a robe covered with silk screen images of events, memories, people and places leaving a deep impression on her, drawing them out of family albums. Wearing trinket rings in one hand and holding a staff with the head of a diva, she walks in silence in the streets and alleyways of Tehran and Yerevan, Armenia. The same Mannequin with the same journal-like dress is seen in Goli’s Dowry (2009 Paris) standing inside the biggest chest of seven wooden chests covered by the same images, if not bringing out the boqcheh-s (a piece of handmade cloth functioning as chest of drawers in old times) of the dowry to examine their contents one by one, while the Goli’s life story is narrated out in Farsi and English from two different speakers; a typical old story of a 12 years old girl wed to a much older man due to poverty. 

And this makes up more or less that very past record of Fayazi which repeating her own words, she closes her eyes to and considers herself dead in them in order to continue her experimentations in various art fields, allowing her raw ideas to lead her toward their artistic realization.

Artist’s resume
Bita Fayazi, in collaboration with Rokni Haerizadeh, There Goes the Neighborhoud, B21 Gallery, Dubai
Tableaux of Daily, an article written by Danish Magazine with the link below:
Special issue of National Geographic: Orient Sans Frontieres, Exposition Espace Louis Vuitton, February 9-27 April 2008

Exhibition Reviews:,3604,471498,00.html  

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