Art And Culture

Cultural Exchange in Iranian, Austrian Artworks

The exhibition title itself promises a mutual multifaceted engagement with the other on an artistic level
RTL:LTR exhibition pieceRTL:LTR exhibition piece

Dubai-based Iranian painter Behnaz Ghasemi is participating in the RTL: LTR (right to left, left to right) exhibition currently taking place in the Austrian capital Vienna.

Iranian and Austrian artists have partnered in the exhibition with the common goal of enhancing cultural exchanges between the two countries through the universal language of visual arts. "The result of their combined efforts and meticulous selection of artworks is a stimulating exhibition of the two juxtaposing cultures," said Ghasemi.

 "The title itself promises a mutual multifaceted engagement with the other on an artistic level," says the exhibition website The event was launched at Galerie Forum in the Austrian city of Wels in June and is now running at Vienna's Artmark Gallery from August 19 till 2 September.

Ghasemi, 39, has carved a path of continuous success following her first win in the Mashhad Municipality outdoor sculpture competition in 2012 and in the same contest held by the Tehran Municipality a year later. During her debut solo exhibition at Shirin Art Gallery in Tehran 2013, all the displayed artworks were sold out on the opening night, a stunning achievement by all accounts.

Curator Maneli Keykavoussi, a Dubai-based artist and daughter of the late prominent Iranian artist Farideh Lashai, says Ghasemi's "formidable discipline and power of endeavor have resulted in a body of work that is impressive and heralds a great career," for the Mashhad-born artist.

"She has showed a capability and dedication that has left us all in awe," Keykavoussi said.

This has been corroborated by the numerous exhibits of her artworks in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Tehran, Mashhad, Vienna, Wels and Kuwait City.  

Ghasemi says that the artwork she has submitted for the Austrian exhibition is a contemporary take on the traditional Persian rose and nightingale; she first learned the traditional technique for painting them during a residency for artists in Isfahan and later started experimenting with different scales, mediums and compositions. Her experimentation has resulted in various collections of work with the same running theme but each with a different aura and each simply 'sui generis', a class by itself.

One of Iran's youngest prolific curators, Ali Bakhtiari, 31, describes Ghasemi as "a very unique kind of East-West mix."

The Austrian press has also singled out Ghasemi for her artworks. "Behnaz Ghasemi's work alludes to "a delicate watercolor on the subject of a fairytale by Oscar Wilde: the nightingale sings first about love, but only blood from the bird's heart can color the rose red."

  Exhibit in Isfahan, Tehran Next Year

The works of all the artists are also due to be exhibited in Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art in January 2017 and subsequently in Tehran.

The idea of the RTL: LTR joint art exhibition was developed during Austrian writer and visual artist Peter Assmann’s visit to Iran. He is currently the director of Austrian National Museum, president of the Austrian Museum Association and a member of the Network of European Museum Organizations.

The title of the exhibition has been taken from the acronyms LTR and RTL, which are used to indicate the direction of writing from left to right, or vice versa in information technologies. These abbreviations are used in programming and web-design particularly to distinguish Latin text from Farsi and Arabic. Right to left and left to right are also used to define what is sent from the East to the West (and vice versa), the direction of reading and writing, as well as the direction of movement in hands, bodies, and the gaze.

"This orientation has always been of concern in visual, cinematic, educational, and psychological theories, and perhaps such theories have been translated from Austrian to Farsi and conversely many times before, without considering the concept of orientation," the website said.

Each piece exhibited individually represents a part of the art, culture, language of the artist, and the collection of the pieces that will ultimately provide the viewer with a representation of the contemporary culture of the artist’s country to some extent.

Samira Alikhanzadeh, Mojtaba Amini, Reza Aramesh, Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Mazdak Ayari, Ala Ebtekar, Saeed Ensafi, Nargess Hashemi, Sahand Hesamiyan, Farrokh Mahdavi, Farnaz Rabiejah, Tarlan Rafiee, Yashar Samimi Mofakham, Golnaz Taheri are the other Iranian artists.

Peter Assmann, Christine Bauer, Josef Bauer, Herbert Egger, Thomas Enzenhofer, Ursula Guttmann, Markus Anton Huber, Walter Kainz, Marion Kilianowitsch, Maria Meusburger, Josef Ramaseder, Wolfgang Maria Reiter, Markus Riebe, Eckart Sonnleitner, Erich Spindler, Isa Stein, Andreas Strohhammer are the Austrian participants.