Art And Culture

Treasured Works on Display at Museum of Contemporary Art

Treasured Works on Display at Museum of Contemporary Art Treasured Works on Display at Museum of Contemporary Art

A n exceptional collection of paintings by 22 foreign artists and one Iranian in an exhibition titled ‘Comprehensible Mentality’ opened at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tuesday (Sept. 15).

The works on display for the public are among major abstract paintings from the museum treasury, Honaronline reported.

They feature a total of 26 paintings by the 23 artists who contributed to four art movements, namely abstract expressionism, tachisme, post painterly abstraction and lyrical abstraction.

Nowadays, galleries in Tehran are actively involved in showcasing works by contemporary artists. “In such circumstances, we are not obliged to organize exhibitions that galleries can hold; instead, whenever necessary we make use of our own treasured works,” Majid Molla-Nowroozi, head of the museum said at the opening ceremony.

“The museum treasury is so rich that it can provide visitors with diverse exhibits for years to come.”

Abstract art uses a visual language of shape, form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references. It can also be defined as nonfigurative, nonobjective, nonrealistic or nonrepresentational art.

On the selection of abstract art, exhibition secretary Ehsan Aqaee said: “It is a modern art rooted in human history. Ancient murals are kind of abstraction. Abstraction began from the beginning of the 20th century.”

Abstract expressionism, a post–World War II art movement in American painting, transferred the capital of art  from New York to Paris, leading to the beginning of a new and different course in art history.

Tachisme, a French style of abstract painting, was popular in the 1940s and 1950s in Europe and is said to be the European version of abstract expressionism.

Mainstream course of art before abstraction was representation that presented lifelike figures and landscapes. In fact, art at that time was underpinned by the logic of perspective and an attempt to reproduce an illusion of visible reality.


Explaining the title of the exhibit, Aqaee said, “It is paradoxical as mentality is not tangible. It is beyond the material world. All artists of this genre have a common way of thinking, yet they are different in manifestation. They have the same view of art but each presents it in a different way.”

The paintings have a special arrangement in the museum. “We thought of an artistic presentation of the works as they need deep reflection. Therefore, they are placed on the wall at a considerable distance from one another. Also chairs have been placed in front of each painting so that the visitor can bask in the work of his liking,” Aqaee said.

Manoucher Yektai, 93, is the only Iranian artist who has a painting at the exhibit. He belongs to the school of abstract expressionism. Yektai left Iran for the US in the 1950s.

Many of his works are found in American and European collections and museums, especially in the Museum of Modern Art of New York, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, SFMOMA, and in numerous private collections such as the Poindexter collection.

“His works are sold online on websites like Artnet and Sotheby’s,” Aqaee said.

An untitled work by Yektai went under the hammer at the fourth Tehran Auction for $280,000 earlier in May.

The artists whose works are on display are Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Adolph Gottlieb, Franz Kline, Mark Tobey, Antoni Tàpies, Jean Fautrier, Pierre Soulages, Antonio Saura, Jean-Paul Riopelle, William Turnbull, Fritz Winter, Hans Hartung, Frank Stella, Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Francis, John Hoyland and Paul Jenkins.

The exhibition will run through November 6, at the museum, N. Karegar St., next to Laleh Park.