Art And Culture

Belgian Artist Unveils Exhibition, Museum Plans in Kashan

Belgian Artist Unveils Exhibition, Museum Plans in KashanBelgian Artist Unveils Exhibition, Museum Plans in Kashan

Belgian artist Wim Delvoye is carefully restoring five desert mansions in Iran’s historic oasis city of Kashan. He plans to open a 900 sq. m gallery in one of them to show his art alongside exhibitions of works by Iranian and international artists, reports the London-based online publication

Delvoye is also planning to move his art-making operation to Iran.

“All the things I do in Europe, I will do here (in Iran),” he says. He has already employed traditional Isfahan metalworkers to work on new sculptures for his solo show at Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art (until May 13).

He is committed to another, smaller show at the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art.

In Kashan, which is a three-hour drive south of the capital, Tehran (halfway to the historic city of Isfahan), Delvoye is employing more than 20 people, including traditional Iranian craftsmen and Iranian and European architects.

Kashan boasts some of the oldest temple remains, dated 6,000 or more years, and traditional gardens that were the playground of Persian royals. The city has been claimed as the home of the Biblical three wise men.

Delvoye’s project was facilitated by Leila Varasteh and Vida Zaim, the curators of his exhibition in Tehran, and the restoration of the first house is due to be completed by the end of 2016.

The three biggest buildings, Heshmatollah, Banikazemi and Hosseini, named after the families that lived in them, are interconnected.  Heshmatollah will be a gallery; the other two will be residencies. Delvoye’s works range from gothic sculptures to inlaid shovels.

One of the strongest displays at the TMOCA is a work by the Iranian painter Morteza Katouzian, ‘To the Memory of Martyrs’ (1988), matched with Delvoye’s Double Helix Alternating Current (2008), which features crucifixes entwined like barbed wire. The exhibition received widespread coverage in the domestic press.  

Delvoye says: “Giving back means giving something to the art world, supporting the local art scene. I buy a lot of Iranian art. I have [works by] young artists.”