Ghasem Hajizadeh, Anniversaire, 2015, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas, 114 x 185 cm.

“TIMELESS FIGURES” by Ghasem Hajizadeh
Curated by Leila Varasteh

The Mark Hachem Gallery and the Simine Paris platform have come together to offer the TIMELESS FIGURES Exhibition, a retrospective of paintings by Iranian artist Ghasem Hajizadeh which, in view of the historical aspect of his considerable work paired with the strength of his representations, touches both the Eastern and Western public.
This exhibition presents a series of portraits in the heart of the artist’s world, marked by a “Mystical Iran”.

The name “TIMELESS FIGURES” suggests a journey into the timeless world of Ghasem Hajizadeh, where the figures of women and men with multiple identities are mixed. At the heart of this series is the question of identity.

Ghasem Hajizadeh poetically and elegantly illustrates the Iranian woman’s tug of war between her deep desire for modernity, and the weight of the thousand-year-old traditions that she carries in her being and on her body. In his work, the Iranian woman is at once modern and free, joyful and deep, extravagant and stoic, hidden and apparent.

Ghasem Hajizadeh was born in 1947 in Lahijan, Iran, and began his career there. He discovered a genuine love of painting at an early age, leading him to state “I did not become a painter, I was born a painter”. Hajizadeh graduated in 1967 from the School of fine arts of Tehran and was heavily inspired by the capital and its photographers and collectors such as Kaveh Golestan and Bahman Jalali, with whom he worked and shared a passion for photography, particularly photographs of the Qajar period, representing the nobility and Iranian society of the time.

He made numerous trips to the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia. It was in New York that he discovered and appropriated the latest artistic trends and met popular artists of the time such as Andy Warhol and Kamran Diba, the Architect of the Museum of Modern Art in Tehran, who introduced him to the world of Pop Art. Pop Art thus burst into Hajizadeh’s world and enriched his eclectic work, creating a mixture of elements of Iranian visual culture, surrealism, abstract art, and Pop Art. He moved to France in 1986, where he still lives and works to this day.

Ghasem Hajizadeh, Untitled, 1992, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas, 60 x 73 cm.
Ghasem Hajizadeh, Untitled, 1992, mixed media on paper mounted on canvas, 60 x 73 cm.

The Qajar theme is one of the main axes of Ghasem Hajizadeh’s work. In Iranian visual culture, the “power of images” is a precise historical notion, which Layla Diba explains in her book “Revealing the unseen: Perspectives on Qajar Art” as images offering the ability to construct identities, to capture history or annihilate it, but also to modernize Iranian Painting. Ghasem Hajizadeh uses this strength of image.

Using his work surrounding the representation of his country’s artistic history as a base, Hajizadeh added different styles to create an eclectic mix of cultures and genres, all inspired by his travels to countries that adopted him in their own way, with growing influences from Pop-art and comic strips, both in English and Japanese that allowed for enigmatic and mysterious forms opening on a world of secrets.

The abundance of forms and colors, interspersed with nostalgic and occult memories of Tehran, transform Ghasem Hajizadeh’s work into a game of hide-and-seek, where the truth of his ideas is visible but has yet to be truly found. “All my work is a dialogue with the portrait, whether individual or collective. My portraits contain a nostalgic kind of fiction.”
Walking a path forged by the intensity and individuality of his work, Ghasem Hajizadeh takes us on a nostalgic and dream-like journey through the memory of an exiled Iranian artist.

Exposition until October 16.



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