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Unwritten history of Iranian Contemporary Painting

Source: Tavoos Art Magazine

Gholamhosseyn Nami Gholamhosseyn Nami, the renowned contemporary Iranian artist delivered a speech at Toronto Book Club on 9 March 2012. Read the highlights of his speech quoted by Bahram Bahrami.

While enumerating shortcomings of written history Nami said: One of the characteristics of oral history is that one who recounts it, has lived through it with his whole being, has been in the midst of everything and has moved on with the events going on.”

Nami then praised the efforts made by Yahya Zoka, Rouin Pakbaz, Aydin Aghdashlu, Javad Mojabi, Hamid Keshmirshekan and Manijeh Mir-Emadi, the founder of Iranian Art Publishing and Tavoos Magazine and Website in writing down a part of 90 years history of Iranian contemporary painting replacing little by little Miniature painting from the Safavid era.

“When Kamal-ol-Molk was sent to Europe (1270), it was the period when Impressionism was at its peak creating tremendous excitement in European Art scene. Kamal-ol-Molk’s critics believe that he did not see what was going on in France and followed Realist painting of the seventeenth century, coping Rembrandt most of all. This was the souvenir he brought back to Iran. Nevertheless, he had a constructive influence on Modern Iranian painting from a technical point of view. One can say that Mahmoud Khan’s Interrogation created 125 years ago is the first Modern Iranian painting, while Modernism per se begins from 1921 in Iran.”

The other chapter of the history of Modern Iranian painting began in 1949 when by the efforts of Marco Grigorian, one of the renowned figures of Iranian painting biennials were established, though they stopped after 5 years without still anybody knowing why. Iran’s Ta’lla’r later known as Ghandriz Hall founded by Rouin Pakbaz and Jodat, Iran’s Art Gallery founded by Jazeh Tabatabai, Borgez Gallery, Mess Gallery, Mehregan Clun, Ghahveh Khaneh trend and finally the group of free painters and sculptors also played a significant role in the development of modern painting in Iran.”

To conclude his speech Nami said: “We say Iranian Modern Art. But I can dare to say that fundamental elements of Modernism have not yet been internalized in our society after 90 years due to lack of discourse, criticism, art critics and art debates. In its own bed in the West Modernity has four centuries of history while we suddenly opened a window to the West and wished to become a westernized painter overnight....

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