Under the emblematic title “Motlaq (The Absolute), a major exhibition of works by Bizhan Bassiri – the artist born in Iran but active in his adopted country, Italy, since 1975 – is opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Teheran on Friday, July 3, 2015. Of all the artists of his generation, who came into their own in the 1980s and 1990s, Bassiri is one of the few to create a personal art form that blends painting, sculpture, music and poetry in an epic, utopian Gesamtkunstwerk in which Eastern culture meets that of the West.
Although he got his start in Italy, Bassiri has never forgotten his cultural roots or Middle Eastern sensibility over the course of his career. Gradually, but with great foresight, he has crafted a “generative thought” charged with the poetic insights and revelations springing from his reflexive interaction with nature and the art he calls “magmatic thought”, which culminated in his Manifesto of Magmatic Thought (1984), still a work in progress today (1986-2015).
Guided by an aesthetic and poetic vocation that has never wavered in the face of momentary fads or the temptations of passing notions of art, Bassiri has conceived and brought into being his own personal Weltanschauung which is reflected in his most important series of works: his Evaporations, Herms, Solar Mirrors, Lecterns, Meteorites, Beasts, The Dice of Fate and Serpents, alongside other equally powerful artworks.
This exhibition at the Teheran art museum, “Motlaq (The Absolute)”, curated by Bruno Corà – the internationally renowned art critic who has known and worked with Bassiri and continuously studied the artist’s works since 1979 – and art historian Fabio De Chirico, features Bassiri’s latest series, The Tempest, composed of thirty-two polychrome Evaporations ( each 200 x 170 cm), alternated with thirty Herms, thirty Lecterns, six Golden Serpents, and two Polyptychs (each made up of eight parts), as well as twelve Solar Mirrors, a video, and – as the centrepiece of this impressive deployment of paintings and sculptures – the sculptural work The Dice of Fate.
The striking design of this exhibition, with layouts in white (marble dust) and black (painted backdrops to the Evaporations), is a perfect opportunity to become acquainted with the key notions behind Bassiri’s poetics, with no small help from his Manifesto of Magmatic Thought, also on display, where visitors will find its propositions outlining the fundamentals of Bassiri’s aesthetics. A careful reading of the Manifesto suggests that Bassiri’s oeuvre essentially tries to come to terms with the dimensions, and the enigma, of space-time and the Infinite and the Absolute of all the forms of energy that come to bear on mankind and the notion of chance; added to this, the poetry and art of every age , tools willingly adopted by Bassiri in his heroic, unequal battle with history and fate.
The practice of Bizhan Bassiri, a solitary artist whose highly original trajectory is characterized by an extremely original vocabulary, is precisely reflected in his return to Teheran after roughly forty years, where that total of the roll of dice – six dots on all six sides – stands for victory, as far as the artist’s own fate is concerned.
The event in Teheran has been made possible thanks to a collaboration with the Claudio Poleschi in Lucca (Italy), which has long exhibited works by Bizhan Bassiri.