Write me a Poem curated by Mojgan Endjavi-Barbé, showcases the works of three Iranian artists Ezra Aghighi, Alireza Astaneh and Mohammad Bozorgi who are dedicated to taking this traditional art form forward into the contemporary 21st century expression and a new era.
Calligraphy, considered as the most beautiful of artistic expressions, was traditionally related to the depiction of beauty intrinsic to Creation. Some even attributed it to a divine origin. Moreover, in spite of the fact that it allowed a large freedom of form and infinite variations, it was an extremely codified art with strict and complicated rules, which needed to be mastered to achieve perfection, to some extent much like Western painting until the great rupture leading to modern art. The adoption of western-style modern art at the beginning of the 20th century, in Iran as well as elsewhere, lead to an initial abandonment of traditional modes of expression such as calligraphy. However, beginning in the sixties and since the development of the saqqa-khaneh movement that promoted reference to the modern art movements of other countries, this art has been resurrected in new forms. In fact, it is less the return to old styles than a contemporary re-interpretation and re-appropriation. It aims to create an aesthetic which speaks to modern tastes yet is still firmly anchored in history. This exhibition successfully demonstrates this evolution without ambiguity.
-Silvia Naef, University of Geneva
Azra Aghighi Bakhshayeshi b.1968 into a religious family in Qom, Iran. Her father is an Islamic writer and historian and has published more than 40 books. The revered court calligrapher Mirza Karim Khoshnevish Tabhari, also has family connections to Bakhshayeshi, who inherited a handwritten Qur’an by the master. The artist’s upbringing and social surroundings have caused her to constantly engage and understand the importance of religion and this is reflected throughout her art. Some of her recent exhibitions include The Next Generation: Contemporary Iranian Calligraphy, Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich, Switzerland 2012, Alternative Calligraphy, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran 2012
Female Calligraphers, Cemal Resit Rey Cultural Center, Istanbul, Turkey, 2010
Calligraphy Festival, ECO Cultural Institute, Dushanbe, Tajikistan, 2010. Her work is in the permanent collection of Malaysian Islamic Museum, Tehran Contemporary Museum and is represented by Galerie Kashya Hildebrand in Zurich, Switzerland.
Alireza Astaneh, b. 1982 in Iran, employs the use of the ancient Persian technique of Nakhoni: a method in which the artist embosses and makes writing apparent only through a slight pressure of his fingernails on the back of a delicate piece of paper or canvas. He uses Nakhoni for his calligraphy while most historical examples portray flowers, birds, lovers, buildings or landscapes. His recent exhibitions include: The Verbal Cage series, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2013, Tehran Taxi series, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2012, Castelli series, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2011, Inspiration/ Insistence, Sotheby’s Los Angeles, USA, 2014, Neo-traditionalism in Contemporary Iranian Art, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 2014, Modern& Contemporary Iranian Art, Tehran Auction, Azadi Grand Hotel, Iran, 2014, The Young Collectors Auction, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, UAE, 2014, Ey Iran, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2014, Cheragh, Iranian Artist Foroum, Tehran, Iran, 2014
City of Tales, Nicolas Flamel Gallery, Paris, France, 2014, Alternative Calligraphy 03, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2014, Voyage, Nicolas Flamel Gallery, Paris, France, 2013,The Young Collectors Auction, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, UAE, 2013, Peykareh, Sareban Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2013, Art Feast, Iranian Artist Forum, Tehran, Iran, 2013, Drawing week 01, Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2013. His work is represented by Ayyam Gallery in Dubai, UAE.
Mohamad Bozorgi, b. 1978 in Iran, trained with the Society of Iranian calligraphers for 15 years and achieved the Excellent level. He left his training, however, because he found that the Society’s practices were too restrictive and did not allow for innovation. Nevertheless, his regular practice of repetition, or Siah Mashg, helped him develop the skills he demonstrates in his new body of work. Recent showings of his work include: Symphonic Meditations: Ayyam Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2014, Identical Manifestation: Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2012, Alternative calligraphy 3: Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran 2014, Ey Iran: Homa Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran, 2014, Voyage: Nicolas Flamel Gallery, Paris, France, 2013, The Fest of Art: Iranian Painter’s Forum, Tehran, Iran, 2013, Word Unveiled: Endjavi-Barbé Art Projects, Geneva, Switzerland, 2012, The Next Generation of Contemporary Iranian Calligraphy: Gallery Kashya