I met some beautiful women at Paris Photo

My friend Anahita Ghabaian, the owner of  Silk Road Galleryinvited  me to go and see her great photo collection at the Grand Palais. I went and discovered the most beautiful women of the world! I didn’t know many of the newcomers to the scene like Paolo Roversi:

The above photo reminds me of my friend, Maureen.

I liked his other-worldly portraits where even the nudes were not in your face!

A jewel of a photo for me was Brancusi’s Eileen on the bench of his studio; I have appreciated his sculptures for ever and his “sleeping muse” kept me company for years.

The highlight for me was the Silk Gallery’s Persian Women; I met the super talented Shadi Ghadirian with her new collection of Miss Butterfly (Shahparak khanom):

A graceful and delicate butterfly/woman gets trapped in the web of a spider…

I knew her for her “Ghajar” and “Like Everyday” collections:

The late Bahman Jalali’s “image of imagination” was watching me quietly from the wall:

Iranian photographers’ works are regularly presented to museums and other institutions everywhere thanks to the Silk Road Gallery ; I like Rana Javadi’s Termeh clad woman:

There was a gorgeous sun setting on Grand Palais that made everything glow in the golden hour; perfect for taking pictures!

After Iran I went to Africa starting from Egypt and Youssef Nabil’s taunting girls:

then to Morocco and Lalla Essaydi’s “I want to be Shirin Neshat when I grow up” image; there is something about the written text that fascinates me:

The great surprise were the other Africans like this beautiful portrait, by Soungalo Malé, of this girl in her sunday suit in 1960; she looks at you with modesty but elegance:

I fell in love with this vintage photo of Ian Berry’s African Collection; a small print that made me smile:

The energy of the place made me forget my aching feet so I plowed on…

I was happy to see Sissi Farassat’s  Andrea, swimming in a sea of sequins:

I love fashion photography and I wasn’t disappointed! Cathleen Naundorf’s Dior 2007 collection made me want to color it pink:

Kate Moss was omnipresent but I liked Annie Leibovitz’s protrait of hers (bellow); she is best friends with the camera and many of her portraits were shouting from multiple galleries!

I saw Leibovitz’s pilgrimage photos too and I loved them all; here is the one I like to include here with all its majesty:

On the other end of the spectrum was Chris Bucklow‘s a thousand points of light that reminded me of Castaneda’s Don Genaro!

I like big cities and skyscrapers so I easily connected with Gail Albert Halaban’s  “Dance studio” from her Out my window NY city collection. Put that on your wall and the whole world changes…

The sun was shining when I went in the Grand Palais,

and I came out when it was growing dark; the site of the Petit Palais in the Parisian “blue hour” was indeed majestic:

Visit the  Silk Road Gallery  here

Art paris 2011: a short walk from sublime to sordid

Art Paris, a major event in the international Art scene took place last month in Paris and was everything from sublime…

…to sordid:

The following are the works that caught and kept my attention so let’s just start from the beginning; if you are lucky you get in the Grand Palais from the VIP entrance and not the main one (below) where you have to wait with the unwashed masses:

The huge glass dome is stunning on its own so imagine how spectacular it was over these amazing galleries.

The first booth had these curious works by Devorah Sperber:

Spools of tread stand for dabs of paint and the images that were hung upside down are only recognized when you see them through an optical device.

The colored thread spools make an abstract pattern that comes to focus when viewed through—in this case— a crystal ball; Cezanne’s still life (below) is recognizable when viewed through this clear acrylic sphere (above).

Without the optical device, you are just looking at thousands of colored tread spools—1470 of them in this case!

The most surprising to me was Van Eyck’s masterpiece, The Virgin of Chancellor Rolin:

The whole image below is recognizable in the little ball above. Magic made of 5272 spools of thread.

On the lighter side of the spectrum, Mister Spock was patiently waiting for me in this work called “Mirror Universe”; like the artist herself, I too remember the 1967 Star Trek episode “Mirror, Mirror” in which a transporter mishap switches the crew of the Enterprise with their evil counterparts, trapping them in a “savage parallel universe.”

That image could be seen through a hemispherical mirror:

I loved the work of the super talented Dutch Artist, Pieke Bergmans:

Liquid light bulbs or “Light Blubs” as she calls them are hand blown bulbs presented attached to pendant and desk lamps or resting on old office furniture.

I met the artist, Aurore Vermue, posing with the spectacular pin and button artwork of Ran Hwang,

in front of the fabulous Kashya Hildebrand gallery:

A nice discovery for me was the work of Katayoun Rouhi; she uses Persian calligraphy in her perspectives; I particularly liked this painting with the little girl in a forest of poetry:

I was the only one bending to be able to read the writings that were all upside down:

Nick Gentry’s portraits made of floppy disks were interesting in their own way:

I had forgotten these disks, superseded by other storage media in only a few years…

These beautiful objects by Winus Lee Yee Mei were called “a group of boobs”:

it was hard not to touch!

The show took a turn for the whimsical with Mauro Perucchetti: from the three little pigs to giant pills and all in Swarovski crystal, resin and arylic,

I liked his “gay” superheroes:

These little child-figures covered with brightly dyed hanji-made scales in yellow and silver are the work of Sun Rae Kim who created these bodiless suits after her daughter, Tscho-Young; they were so cute:

The mind blowing opposite was Jan Fabre’s insect covered sculptures; the Belgian Fabre is a multidisciplinary artist, designer, sculptor, playwright and stage designer. I Just found out that he likes these jewel scarabs because of his great grandfather who’s been a famous entomologist. Yeap, these are beetles people!

The other Belgian great was Wim Delvoye and his persian carpet clad real stuffed pig. This sold for 180,000 euros and I am sure the buyer wasn’t an Iranian!

On a more serene note, Gonkar Gyatso, the Tibetan artist, had “Buddha in modern Times”. You could spend an hour exploring little stories embedded in the image:

I liked the straightforward “Paris Block” by Ralph Fleck; I discovered his site and loved his “figures”.

Persian artists being a hot commodity, Kambiz Sabri was the other Iranian artist showing his sculptures like this funny “pillow”:

So to recap, I went from Philippe Pasqua‘s gory skulls (which by the way I love),

to the sublime Kim Kyung Soo’s “the full moon story”:

Her photos were truly arresting; pure poetry…

And in all this, Albert Watson’s David Bowie was sleeping:

I am very happy I got to know some of these artists’ works; take the time to discover them for yourself. The post has all their links.

René Burri, one degree of separation between me and Che Guevara

I met one of my favorite photographers, René Burri, last week! A few years ago, I fell in love with this beautiful image of Brazil I discovered on Burri’s great photography book:

In 1963 while working in Cuba, he made portraits of a young Che Guevara:

I went to see Burri exposing his Vintage elegant shots of the polymath architect/urbanist, Le Corbusier:

The photographer has managed to catch the architect in his creative modes/moods:

I found out that often times, Le Corbusier didn’t even notice Burri taking his picture:

I particularly like this one:

Burri was present at La Tourette monastery with Le Corbusier and he recorded some very interesting images of the monks surrounding the architect in 1959:

I love this monk (with the hat) listening in the conversation below:

Artist and photo-reporter in one, Burri, started to shadow Le Corbusier while still a student—he became the visual chronicler and personal photographer of the architect:

The whole exhibition was a glimpse into the creative life of Le Corbusier (not being among my favorite architects, I was never particularly curious about him); I learned much about his work thanks to Burri.

The master was present to kindly sign books,

and learning that I am Iranian, he tried to add another word to his autograph: cheilechoub (ch in Swiss German sounds like kh) or “very good” in Persian:

Check out some of Burri’s work here.

To see the breadth of his work (eye) visit Magnum’s site here.

To see an interesting view about Che Guevara go here.

A Persian in Venice

My smile got bigger and bigger as I continued listening to Professor Riccardo Zipoli talking about Iran in his near perfect Persian; but then I got a bit frustrated remembering that in spite of speaking three languages myself, I have to applaud every non-Persian who can say 4 words in my mother tongue! Listen to him talk here to see what I mean by Zipoli’s flawless Persian.

zipoli kohguilouyeh

These two pictures are from the Professor’s huge archive. He has a soft spot for the rural landscape/people of Iran.

zipoli tchador

Born near Florence, teaching in Venice, reciting Sohrab Sepehri better than most of the natives has endeared Zipoli to Persians. I particularly like his Tree series. You can find more of his pictures on his site.

zipoli tak-derakht

Looking at these images made me nostalgic so I went to look for some pictures from my last trip to Iran about 14 years ago. Here is one of my favorites from the Shah’s Mosque in Isfahan, a marvel of Safavid art. I still remember my awe in front of all these magnificent architectural wonders.

michele roohani turquoise mosque

“If you come to visit me
Come gently and slowly lest the fragile china
Of my solitude cracks”
به سراغ من اگر مي‌آييد،
نرم و آهسته بياييد، مبادا كه ترك بردارد
چيني نازك تنهايي من
“Si vous venez m’y chercher,
Venez-vous-en donc lentement et doucement
De crainte que ne se raye
La porcelaine de ma solitude.” Sohrab Sepehri

And for all of you people who are still looking for a Persian in Venice, I am sharing this picture I took some years ago.

michele roohani venice gondolas

I met Arcimboldo and some Germans in Paris

I am sitting in this cute café which happens to have wifi! The world is changing and Paris with it.

cafe du metro michele roohani paris

I’ve been very busy since I am here; three interesting exhibitions in 2 days: Arcimboldo has never been so complete as in this exhibition in the Luxembourg museum.

michele roohani arcimboldo luxembourg

A way more somber show was Germany, the black years at the Maillol museum. Otto Dix, Beckmann and Grosz were the most impressing but i have to admit that the German propaganda posters with Hitler’s name on them were the most striking/chilling to me.

michele roohani german war poster 11

This one can give you nightmares:

michele roohani war poster german

this next one takes me back to all of my dear Professor Ungvari’s battlefields (Somme, etc…)

michele roohani somme

of course Paris can erase these nightmares with a winter sunshine after the rain.

michele roohani pont des arts