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Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam The Iranian Pioneer of Modern Abstraction


Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam The Iranian Pioneer of Modern Abstraction


Human Hand on Earth

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Giulio Carlo Argan

Of the many foreign artists, following an old-age tradition, who work in Rome, Mohsen Vaziri 1, a Persian, is one of the most interesting, both for the nature of the research he conducts and for the authentic imagery of his world. A Constant and essential theme of his work is space. Aiming to recuperate the origins of this thought, he turns not to the metaphysics of a geometric structure or to a traditional image of nature but to the earliest principles of human experience. The dominating element in Vaziri’s image is that of a primitive and essential order that governs the world of sensations: the space in his painting is, in fact, a dimension without limits, infinitely extended and populated by colour which is of the very substance of perception, determining layers, distances and the ebb and flow of motion. It is an experience which is difficult to make objective, finding no limits and being of the very essence of existence. And in that dimension, animated by such an ungraspable vitality we discover that the human gesture is the principle of motion; itself re-conducted to its first principle, to its first coming to being as a need for direct contact, tactile in nature, with reality. The images in Vaziri’s more recent painting seem to belong to the category of imprints: of signs, that is, that our existence imprints on the existence of the world thereby constructing its initial experience.

Inauguration day of the exhibition for sand artworks in Märkisches Museum, Witten, Westfalen, Germany with Dr. Nettman, director of the museum. 25th of October 1960

So Vaziri has chosen for the subject of his own painting the first subject of experience, drawing from his remote memories of childhood: the black and red sand of his beaches on which a child’s hand leaves the first signs: apparently very casual but never­theless full of mysterious meaning. Those signs made by a human hand of yellow, black, red sand are for Vaziri the first acts of a necessary essential contact of the human being with the world; those whereby we set for the first time and for always the relationship between extension and duration, between space and time. The subsequent determination of every other image depends on that gesture, because with it is born the first structure of space, not as something external but as something that life itself in its very becoming determines. An initial and simple geometry is born from that gesture and from that first direct contact with the substance of the world: wanting to indicate that every human thought, every image, is already implicit in that first experience. Rome, 1960 Giulio Carlo Argan (1909 – 1992) Italian art critic, Director of the Art Crities’ Society, Professsor of History of Modern Art at the University of Rome, politician and first communist mayor of Rome (1976  – 1979)

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The name Vaziri is spelled with a “z” in Farsi but, following the artist’s move to Rome, was commonly spelled with a “s” for pronunciation reasons.


Artist’s Studio, Rome 2015


Some Moments of Vasiri’s Solitude Pierre Restany

Fate does things well, there is no doubt about that. My first contact with the work of Vaziri took place in 1962 at the Third Biennial of Tehran where he won a prize for painting. I had to see him again that same year, in Rome. His sand paintings, a granular material crossed by gestural drawings that seem to be coming down through the ages, had impressed me. At the peak of the decline of European Informalism, they brought the power and mystery of life’s energy in a style that permeated his whole aesthetics. I saw Mohsen Vaziri 15 years later, in Tehran, at the inauguration of the Museum of Contemporary Art. His sand paintings from the early 60s now figure prominently in the Lajvardi collection. He lives in a small house with a pergola overlooking a large, abandoned garden. There he works surrounded by strange flora-fauna articulated pseudopodia, serrated leaves or offensive arrows that evoke antediluvian animals and plants from the virgin forest. These articulated sculptures can be extended. When manipulated, they transform endless times into space. These parts are powerful, full of contained energy reaching the limits of anguish. They express the deep moral solitude of a man who lives for his art, and whose social relationships are deliberately minimized. Like suffering animals, we are under the impression that Vaziri locks himself away and leaves art the task of expressing the helplessness of man before the dramatic and ruthless injustice of the world. Vaziri finds his peace and harmony in the music of Gustav Mahler, but especially in his intimate encounter with the nature of his country, the quality of its land, the contrast between its aridity and greenery.

On a Friday in the autumn of 1977 we went for a drive together, in the outskirts of Tehran. When we met an old peasant woman who welcomed us into her apple orchard, I saw him relax and sink his teeth into the fruit, with the eager spontaneity of childhood rediscovered for a fleeting moment. That day I learned how to express the pomegranate juice through a hole in the skin, and by simply pushing with my hands. The paintings that match the sculptures evoke the same feeling of threat and widespread violence in a world of fear through the acuity and stridency of their shapes and colours. The chaotic clashes of the individual being struggling with the continual assault of a collective existence, the being-in-itself in contrast with the being-for-itself. Mohsen Vaziri is thin-skinned. And this skin is that of the heart, of the very depths of feelings. What an existential suffering, barely appeased on some brief and special moments - like the one I lived with him – by the visceral love for his homeland, the simplicity of the man in contact with the truth of nature! Why is it that art erects its most exemplary stories and reaches its most extraordinary zenith precisely on the climax of such suffering? Pain is the prerogative of the artist, when it is true; that is to say, naturally big. Isolated and alone, Vaziri pays the price for his anguish. With great determination, which is also the determination of his graphic and plastic talent, Mohsen Vaziri perseveres, exposing the full extent of his emotional sensitivity to the wounds of daily life. May you resist to all of life’s adverse conditions, Mohsen! Time works in your favour, I’m sure. Tehran, 1977 Pierre Restany (1930 – 2003) French art critic who coined the term Nouveau Réalisme. In 1977 he was invited to the opening of the Contemporary Art Museum in Tehran where he saw some of Vaziri’s works and visited him in his studio. They spent one day together and, before leaving Tehran, Restany expressed his observations in this letter.

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Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Oil color on paper 1958 48 × 73 cm


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Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Mix media, enamel paint and oil color on canvas 1959 30.5 × 41.5 cm


Rhythm Movement from the “Form & Shapes” series 1959 Mixed media, oil on paper 100 × 150 cm Signed and dated verso top left “Vasiri 15.7.1959”, signed recto bottom side right “Vasiri 59”, label Venice Biennale 1960


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Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Enamel paint on paper 1959 35 × 68.4 cm


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Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Enamel paint on cardboard 1959 72 × 102 cm


Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Enamel paint on paper 1959 35 × 48.6 cm


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Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Enamel paint on paper 1959 37 × 49.6 cm


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Ètud from the “Form & Shapes” series 1959 Mixed media, enamel, acrylic on paper 37 × 49 cm


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series 1959 Sand and color on canvas 49.5 × 70 cm


Untitled from the “Form & Shapes” series Enamel paint on cardboard 1959 49.3 × 68.4 cm


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on cardboard 1960 49.6 × 69.5 cm


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on cardboard 1960 49.6 × 69.5 cm


Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 1961 100 × 130 cm


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 1961 150 × 100 cm Label Venice Biennale 1962


Artist’s Studio, Rome 1962


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Untitled from the “Monotype” series Oil color on paper 1962 22.5 × 48.2 cm


Untitled from the “Monotype” series Oil color on paper 1962 33.7 × 41.3 cm


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Untitled from the “Monotype” series Oil color on paper 1962 48.3 × 66 cm


Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 28.6.2016 180 × 80 cm Diptych


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 27.7.2016 200 × 100 cm


Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 10.8.2016 125 × 250 cm


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 4.7.2016 110 × 170 cm


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Un Ordine Nel Disordine from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 23.9.2016 200 × 200 cm


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 30.7.2016 100 × 200 cm


Artist’s Studio, Rome 2015


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 31.5.2017 150 × 350 cm


Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 18.9.2016 400 × 200 cm Diptych


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Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 5.8.2017 180 × 180 cm


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Artist’s Studio, Rome 2017

Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on canvas 9.8.2017 250 × 187 cm


Untitled from the “Sand Composition” series Sand on jute on wood with original frame on wood 2017 144  × 120 cm


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Untitled from the “Sculpture” series Wood 1972 almost 50 cm


Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam *1924 in Tehran, IR, lives and works in Rome, IT

EDUCATION

GRANTS & AWARDS

1964 – 1978 Professorship at the Faculty of Decorative Arts and the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran, IR

2006 European Character 2006, Prize from the City of Rome, IT

1955 – 1958 Academy of Fine Arts, Rome, IT 1943 – 1946 Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran, IR Masterstudent of Ali Mohammad Heydarian and Madam Amin Far 1943

Diploma at the Agricultural Institute, Tehran, IR

2004 Recognition as the best Iranian artist of this century, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, IR 1968 Annual Scholarship for the “Cité des Arts” in Paris, Ministry of Arts and Culture, FR 1962 First Prize (Gold Medal) and Special Citation from the Jury at the III Art Biennal in Tehran, IR 1961 Gold Medal of the “Senate of Rome” on the occasion of the International Art Competition “Piccola Europa”, Sassoferrato, Ancona, IT 1960 Frist Prize (Imperial Awards) for the painting at the II. Tehran Art Biennial, IR 1959 Diploma of Honor and Art Prize of the Italian Prime Minister Segni on the occasion of the International Art Competition, Ravenna, IT 1958 Gold Medal at the I. Tehran Art Biennial, IR Diploma of Honor “San Vito Romano” and Silver Medal from “Ente Provinciale per il Turismo” of the City of Rome, IT Encyclopedia of Worlds Arts, Publishes His Figurative Painting Bronze Medal at the VIII. Art Fair in Via Margutta – International Art Association, Rome, IT 1957 Medal of Mayor of Rome at the VII. Art Fair in Via Margutta – International Art Association, Rome, IT

Inauguration day of the exhibition for sand artworks in Märkisches Museum, Witten, Westfalen, Germany with Dr. Nettman, director of the museum. 25th of October 1960


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SOLO SHOWS 2018 Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam. The Iranian Pioneer of Modern Abstraction, SETAREH GALLERY, DE 2015 Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam – Retrospective 1959 – 2015, Etemad Gallery, Tehran, IR

Art Dubai, Modern Section, Etemad Gallery, Dubai, AE

2014 Tarrāhāne Āzad Gallery, Tehran, IR

Intuition of color, Khāk Gallery, Tehran, IR

2012 Tarrāhāne Āzād Gallery, Tehran, IR 2011 A Selection of Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam’s Art Works, Fravahr Art Gallery, Tehran, IR 2010 Ahwaz Museum of Contemporary Art, Ahwaz, IR 2009 Elahe Gallery, Tehran, IR

Hoor Art Gallery, Tehran, IR

2008 Hoor Art Gallery, Tehran, IR

Tarrāhāne Āzad Gallery, Tehran, IR

2007 Arte Dove Gallery, Florence, IT 2006 Dey Gallery, Tehran, IR

Parvaz Gallery, Yazd Art University, Yazd, IR

Hoor Art Gallery, Tehran, IR

2005 Asia Gallery, Tehran, IR

Shiveh Gallery, Shiraz, IR

2004 Fourth exhibition Pioneers of Iranian Modern Art: Mohsen Vasiri Moghaddam, Tehran

Museum of Contemporary Art, IR

2003 Works from 1947 to 2003, Gallery Seyhoun, Tehran, IR 1993 Barg Gallery, Tehran, IR 1985 Italian Institute of Culture, Tehran, IR 1984 Retrospective (1953 – 1983), Khāneye-Sabz Gallery, Tehran, IR 1980 Karteh Gallery, Tehran, IR

1977 Exposition at the Goethe Institute, Tehran, IR

Santoro Gallery, Rome, IT

Karteh Gallery, Tehran, IR

1976 Seyhoun Gallery, Tehran, IR 1975 Pardis, Seyhoun Gallery, Tehran, IR Retrospective (1953  – 1974), Takhte-Jamshid Gallery, Tehran, IR 1974 Litho Gallery, Tehran, IR 1973 10 years of Mohsen Vaziri, Seyhoun Gallery, Tehran, IR

Keyhan International, Tehran, IR

1972 Transition of Forms – Wooden Sculptures, Tyler School of Art, Rome, IT 1971 Transitional Forms, Iran American Society, Tehran, IR 1968 Seyhoun Gallery, Tehran, IR

Royan Art Festival, FR

1965 Saba Gallery, Rome, IT 1963 George Lester Gallery, Rome, IT 1962 Gallery Numero, Milan, Italy

Farhang Hall, National Bureau of Fine Arts, Tehran, IR

1961 Gallery Numero, Rome, IT 1960 Deutscher Buecherbund, Munich, DE

Märkisches Museum, Witten, DE

1959 Trastevere Art Gallery, Rome, IT 1958 Schneider Gallery, Rome, IT 1957 Stenzel Gallery, Munich, DE

Brucke Art Gallery, Dusseldorf, DE

1956 Portonovo Art Gallery, Rome, IT 1955 German Cultural Center, Goethe Institute, Tehran, IR 1953 Iran-America Society of Tehran, IR


GROUP SHOWS 2018 Modernism in Iran: 1958 – 1978, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver, CA

1964 Storm King Art Center, New York, US

2017 Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Setareh Gallery, Abu Dhabi, AE

The 1964 Pittsburg International, Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, US

2016 IRAN ART NOW, Setareh Gallery, Dusseldorf, DE

Iran Masters, e1 artgallery, Tehran, IR

1963 Oltre l’informale, IV. Biennial in San Marino, San Marino, IT

BLU GOLD, Etemad Gallery, Tehran, IR

Museum of Modern Art, Paris, FR

2014 Artevida Corpo, Fundação Casa França-Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, BR

Museum of Modern Art, Brussels, BE

Museum of Modern Art André Malraux, Le Havre, FR

Art 14, Meshkati Fine Art & Austin / Desmond Fine Art, London, GB 2013 Iran Modern, Asia Society Museum of New York, US Iranian Masters of Abstract Painting, ATBIN Art Gallery, Tehran, IR 2009 Perspectives: Arab & Iranian Modern Masters, Saatchi Gallery, London, GB 2008 Teramo Città Aperta al Mondo: Happening Culturale Internazionale 4th ed., Teramo, IT 2007 Clusters of Light, Part of the cycle: Six Weeks of Iranian Art, Toronto, CA 2004 Rassegna Internazionale d’Arte Contemporanea, XXXI. Sulmona’s Award, Sulmona /Aquila, IT 2003 Palestina chiave di cultura e di pace, International Exhibition of Contemporary Art, Mole Vanvitellina, Ancona, IT 2001 Iranian Contemporary Art, Barbican Center, London, GB 1978 International Art Fair, Basel, CH 1977 Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, IR 1976 Two Performances from a painting of: Picasso, Mondrian, Reza Abbassi, Klee, M. Vaziri, Modigliani, produced by Bahman Jahangiri, Tehran, IR 1971 International Art Festival, Cagnes-sur-Mer, FR 1969 Shiraz Art Festival, IR 1966 Recent Acquisitions: Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York, US

Museum of Modern Art, New York, US

1962 XXXI. Venice Biennial, IT

III. Tehran Art Biennial, IR

Sao Paulo International Biennial, BR

Piccola Europa, XI. PREMIO di Pittura G.B. Salvi, Sassoferrato, IT

100 Selected Artistis, Drian Gallery, London, GB

I.C.A. Library, Institut of Contemporary Art, London, GB

Summer Exhibition, Redfern Gallery, London, GB

A Hundred Abstract Artists, Pistoia Museum, Pistoia, IT

1961 Salon of Autumn, Gallery San Marco, Rome, IT

International Abstract Arts, National Gallery of Pistoia, IT

10 Foreign Artists, Gallery Numero, Florence, IT

1960 XXX. Venice Biennial, IT

II. Tehran Art Biennial, IR

Quadriennial of Rome, IT

1959 Maggio di Bari, IX. Contemporary Painting National Exhibition, Bari, IT 1958 XXIX. Venice Biennial, IT

I. Tehran Art Biennial, IR

1956 XXVIII. Venice Biennial, IT


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BIBLIOGRAPHY (selection) Vaziri Moghaddam, Mohsen: Autobiography, will be published soon Scheiwiller, Staci Gem: Performing the Iranian State. Visual Culture and Representations of Iranian Identity, New York 2014 Grigor, Talinn: Contemporary Iranian Art. From the Street to the Studio, London 2014 Herda, Isabel / Torcelli, Nicoletta: iran.com – Iranian art today, (exhib. cat.), Städtische Museen Freiburg / Museum für Neue Kunst, Freiburg i. Br. 2006 Vaziri Moghaddam, Mohsen: Method of Painting, 2nd Volume, Tehran 2001 Vaziri Moghaddam, Mohsen: Drawing methods, 2nd Volume, Tehran 2000 Vaziri Moghaddam, Mohsen: Translation of Werner Haftmann’s “The Mind and Work of Paul Klee”, 1999 Vaziri Moghaddam, Mohsen: Method of Painting, Tehran 1981 Barr Jr., Alfred Hamilton: Painting and Sculpture in The Modern Museum of Art 1929 –1  967, MoMA Museum, New York, 1967


Imprint

This catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam The Iranian Pioneer of Modern Abstraction 1.3.  – 14.4.2018 SETAREH GALLERY, Dusseldorf Publisher SETAREH GALLERY, Dusseldorf Königsallee 27– 31 40212 Dusseldorf Germany info@setareh-gallery.com www.setareh-gallery.com +49 (0)211 8282 7171 Editor Bianca Bachmann, Marion Eisele, Renee Roberson Authors Giulio Carlo Argan, Pierre Restany Catalogue Concept and Design dasbuero, Dusseldorf www.dasbuero.net Lithography Die Qualitaner, Dusseldorf Printing druckpartner, Essen

Thank You Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam Hamoun Vaziri Moghaddam Houman Vaziri Moghaddam ISBN 978-3-945498-11-8 © the authors & the artist © for all images Fondazione Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam © for this edition SETAREH GALLERY Printed in Germany Edition 500


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Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam – SETAREH GALLERY – Ausstellungskatalog  

Ausstellungskatalog Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam – SETAREH GALLERY – Ausstellung 2. März bis 14. April 2018

Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam – SETAREH GALLERY – Ausstellungskatalog  

Ausstellungskatalog Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam – SETAREH GALLERY – Ausstellung 2. März bis 14. April 2018

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