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Bizhan Bassiri - 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

VENICE - Bizhan Bassiri was born in Tehran in 1954 and moved to Italy in 1975. He is the artist chosen by Majid Mollanoroozy, Commissioner and Curator of the Iranian Pavilion, to represent Iran at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The pavilion will be hosted by the prestigious Palazzo Donà dalle Rose, a historical symbolic place situated in the heart of Venice.

Conceived as a vast polyphonic composition, but also as a symbolic deposit of works created over the years, the exhibition presented at the Biennale Arte 2017 “TAPESH, The Golden Reserve of Magmatic Thought”, symbolizes with a single concept the outcome of the various forms of his art. The exhibition was preceded by several events, imagined as a single journey, that over eight months has led the artist to Venice.


In time Bassiri has built the infrastructure of his epic imaginary vision, confronting himself with artists of his generation in Italy and Europe, such as Franz West, and those who preceded him as Jannis Kounellis, maintaining unchanged the basic generative principles of his own language. The never ending dynamo that symbolizes his work, is the poetic perception that enables him to establish an assiduous relationship with all energies, that coming from all means, surround the senses and the spirit.


By combining his artistic skills as a contemporary artist with those artists of different periods in time, ranging from the great Iranian, Asian or the European tradition, Bassiri has been able to merge ancient and classical mythologies with the problems of contemporary expression issues. He has also been able to conceive and realize authentic plastic inventions with an aesthetic dimension with often simple shapes but with a strong poetic content.

These include “the dices of fate” (1990-2015) that are particularly relevant because, despite their playful congenital origin, the fact of having marked the number “6” on each side of the dice, has made them become a challenge to chance.


With this work Bassiri wants to demonstrate that by playing with his own destiny, the artist must win the game, always marking the highest score. The “dices of fate” were conceived and created at the beginning of his artistic journey, when he was confronted with countless paths like the maze of a labyrinth, making it possible to measure his determination and his own will to prevail in front of every obstacle, difficulty or adversity. After forty years, they have become the emblem of his return to his homeland, that has taken the artist through a risky game with fate (and death) through the expression of his art.


In the Magmatic Thought of Bizhan Bassiri, his art and the whole creative process of his artwork lie at the origin of the qualitative transformation of matter, in the same way as the volcano is the cause of disasters. His art is created and comes to light surprising all, through his action of transforming the chosen materials that become a vehicle of his intensity and imagination. In this way his artwork erupts and surprises everyone. Conceived as a vast polyphonic composition, but also as an emblematic collection of works conceived over the years, the exhibition in Venice TAPESH, The Golden Reserve of Magmatic Thought, symbolizes in one single concept the various forms of his art. The exhibition has been preceded by several events, imagined as continuous journey which, in the space of eight months, has led him to Venice :

On October 15th 2016, within the BIAS - Biennial International Spiritual Contemporary Art in Palermo, curated by Chiara Modìca Donà dalle Rose and promoted by WISH - World International Sicilian Heritage, exhibited in 22 different sites in the city historic centre in collaboration with Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Palermo, the Sicilian Region and the Municipality of Palermo. The artist also installed the Meteorite in the square outside the Cathedral of Palermo, where it will remain on display until November 2017.


On March 8th, 2017 at Chogha Zanbil, in the province of Kuzhestan (IRAN), one of the most ancient Ziggurat among those outside of Mesopotamia, has taken place a conference entitled Noor in contemporary thought. The next day (March 9th, 2017), Bizhan Bassiri inaugurated the opening of the new museum of contemporary art in Abadan, a city in the south west of Iran, with a solo show titled Temple of Destiny.


The choice of these two places is not random as both are amongst the UNESCOs’ World Heritage sites. On March 17th, 2017 with a solo exhibition, curated by Bruno Corà, in the National Etruscan Museum in Chiusi (exhibition organized in collaboration with Fondazione VOLUME!, the city of Chiusi and the Museums of Tuscany). On this occasion, the artist has exhibited his work next to the objects and and sculptures in the museum, as he had done in the past during his exhibition at the National Gallery of Umbria in Perugia (2013), the National Archaeological Museum of Venice (2011) and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples (2004).


Finally, the exhibition opened on April 22nd 2017, at the San Martino Temple in Petroro Todi where the sacred themes are once again displayed, closing this symbolic journey. The white stones of the Romanesque temple welcomed the celestial bodywork, a black hole where darkness becomes a metaphysical presence, that symbolizes the strength of the absence of matter. The only signs of light that enlighten the artwork or candlesticks, Solar mirrors that complete the artwork as in a theatrical representation.



Venice, May 12th, 2017 at 11:00 marks the end and the beginning of the journey initiated by Bassiri eight months ago that, after five intense and meaningful stages, finally ends with the exhibit Tapesh ('heartbeat') in the prestigious Venetian headquarters of the Iranian Pavilion.


CREDITS | SHEET Title          Tapesh, The Golden Reserve of Magmatic Thought 
Opening           Save the date May 12, 2017 11:00 am
Iranian Office Pavilion

        Palazzo Donà dalle Rose
Cannaregio 5038 | Nine Foundation | Venice 
Open from 13 May 2017 to 26 November 2017 
From 10.00 to 17.00 | closed on Mondays and bank holidays
Commissioner and Curator         Majid Mollanorozy
Artist          Bizhan Bassiri
Critical Text         Bruno Corà
Project and Legal Manager          Chiara Modìca Donà dalle Rose
Graphic Design         Franco Mancinelli

        Bahareh Mohammadi 0039.329.0337940 
Chiara Modìca Donà dalle Rose 0039.041.5202401

With the support of  







Ministry of Cultural & Islamic Guidance of Islamic Republic of Iran 
Museum of Contemporary Art
Abadan Museum of Contemporary Art 
Arvand Free Zone Organisation 
Cultural Heritage of Khuzestan 
WISH - World International Sicilian Heritage 
Fondazione VOLUME! 
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