The Everlasting Roots

March – July 2017

In conjunction with Art Dubai, The Farjam Foundation will be honoring the life and work of critically acclaimed artist and director, Abbas Kiarostami. The celebrated filmmaker, poet, painter and photographer passed away in Paris last year. The comprehensive exhibition will survey a range of his photographic series, including: Snow White, Windows, Doors Without Keys, Roads, Trees and Crows, as well as Rain from The Farjam Collection. Kiarostami, born in 1940 in Tehran, graduated from the University of Tehran School of Fine Arts. He later joined the Centre for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, where he then began his career as a filmmaker. Kiarostami was able to maneuver complex concepts such as love, nature, city life, landscape and social issues into approachable art forms and share his unique vision with the world. He was awarded the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 for his film, Taste of Cherry. His photographic works have been exhibited at the V&A Museum in London, the Pompidou in Paris and the MoMA in New York.

Kiarostami discovered photography in 1979. Despite a high-caliber photographic oeuvre of great creativity and skill, he was largely self-taught and often shot in parallel activity to his films. However, his photographic works, in juxtaposition to his films, eliminate the human characters of the story and rather than focusing on the “object” or “character,” they capture natural landscape and embrace “what surrounds the object.” In both his Snow White and Trees and Crows series, the visual unity of a snow covered mountain or a row of trees offer a unanimous serenity. His images blend symmetry and homogeny from the simplest prospect but ultimately guide the viewer into a discovery of the secrets of existence and of “stillness” itself. Kiarostami has commented on his photographic process: “It’s said that in the beginning was the word, but for me the beginning is always an image. When I think about a conversation, it always starts with images. And what I love about photography is the inscription of a single moment: it’s completely ephemeral. You take the photograph, and one second later, everything has changed.” The photographs of the Snow White series were taken along Iran’s Caspian coast during walks Kiarostami had taken in search of filming locations. The images he took were spontaneous and unplanned; immediate reactions to the stimuli of his surroundings, impulses catalyzed by feelings of awe and wonderment. His Doors Without Keys series were photographed in several countries. Kiarostami shot over 200 doors in Italy, France, Morocco and Iran, spanning over two decades.

These weathered doors have been witnesses to many lives lived behind, through, and before them. The exhibition will include more than 30 photos from multiple series. The display exposes Kiarostami’s innovative practice to be a compelling one that synthesizes a range of pictorial traditions that address the constant “presence” in nature. His photographs are the inscriptions of a single moment, urging the viewer to transcend the realm of human concerns and embrace the majesty and everlasting state of nature. Farhad Farjam collector and the founder of The Farjam Foundation pays his respect to Kiarostami and his life’s work:

“Kiarostami’s riveting images reveal an artist, who speaks to the singular passion and sentiment for nature’s beauty and the theme of enlightenment; each are emphasized both literally and figuratively in a mystical manner. It is an honor that The Farjam Collection’s breadth is able to pay tribute to Kiarostami’s eternal flame, as his spirit exceeds its vessel, flowing outwardly though his works, continuing to inspire the world.” – Farhad Farjam

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