press release

Nine Iranian Artists in London
The Spark Is You
May 22–September 8, 2019

The Spark Is You
Artists In Conversation: May 22, 7pm, with curator Dr Ziba Ardalan

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art is delighted to present Nine Iranian Artists in London: The Spark Is You, a group exhibition of works by contemporary Iranian artists whose vision looks beyond the ordinary. Each piece was selected for the affinity with openness, respect and human interconnectedness evinced in the work.

Morteza Ahmadvand / Nazgol Ansarinia / Ghazaleh Hedayat / Sahand Hesamiyan / Koushna Navabi / Navid Nuur / Sam Samiee / Hadi Tabatabai / Hossein Valamanesh

The Nine Iranian Artists in London: The Spark Is You exhibition, curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of Parasol unit, is presented through a prism of classical Persian poetry and, fittingly, coincides with the 200th anniversary of West-oestlicher Divan (West-Eastern Divan), 1819, a book of lyrical poems written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in homage to the 14th-century Persian poet Hafez. The exhibition, which includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, installations and film, focuses primarily on early- and mid-career artists who live either in Iran or elsewhere in an adopted country. A sense of duality exists within their works, with concepts stemming from private and collective experiences manifested either figuratively or in the abstract. Living and working in disparate parts of the world, each of the artists responds uniquely to modern society, yet a common heritage of poetry, evident in their use of metaphor and parable, runs through all their works.

Nine Iranian Artists in London: The Spark Is You exhibition highlights the vital importance of open dialogue in the development of greater understanding between all nations. Particularly in the tumultuous and uncertain times of today, this exhibition is timely and informative in ways that we hope will further engender curiosity, understanding and appreciation of other cultures and stimulate ever more conversations.

The exhibition runs concurrently with The Spark Is You: Parasol unit in Venice, which also presents the work of nine Iranian artists, some of who also have pieces in this London presentation that continues significant themes of exchange and dialogue.

Parasol unit appreciates the generous support of Cockayne – Grants for the Arts | The London Community Foundation, Soudavar Memorial Foundation, Claudia Steinfels and Christian Norgren, Key Capital, Massimo and Ilaria Tosato, Kevin and My Phuong Lecocq, Mohammed Afkhami Foundation, General Atlantic Foundation, Cyrus Ardalan and Juni Farmanfarmaian, Iran Heritage Foundation, and KayhanLife.

Catalogue, available in July 2019: The exhibition is accompanied by a publication with essays by Oliver Basciano, Narguess Farzad, Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, Mahan Moalemi, Maria Porges, Sarah Thomas, and John Yau.