Art And Culture

Chamani’s ‘Amino Acids’ in Paris Gallery

The exhibit features a number of paintings portraying the artist’s “concepts of contrasts” that he sees between tradition and modernism in the present cultural scenario
Paintings at ‘Amino Acids’ exhibition
Paintings at ‘Amino Acids’ exhibition

The latest edition of ‘Amino Acids,’ a series of solo painting exhibitions by Iranian painter Vahid Chamani, is underway at Galerie Lazarew in Paris.   

The exhibit opened on January 28 and will run through February 25. It features a number of paintings portraying Chamani’s “concepts of contrasts” that he sees between tradition and modernism in Iran’s present cultural scenario, Honaronline reported.

Chamani, 33, started the series in 2007 at Homa Art Gallery in Tehran. The second edition was held in 2008 at Naar Gallery in the capital. The third and fourth were held at the same venue in 2013 and 2015.

Galerie Lazarew is now presenting the exhibit for the first time in France. Chamani’s works have already been displayed in the US, UK and the UAE.

The meticulous and refined paintings combine different influences and techniques so as to create a unique view of the social contradictions.

“We have somehow turned our back to traditional culture, which at the same time has been left behind by modernism,” he says. 

He maintains that “this distance from our tradition is to enable us to join the global stream of modern cultures. But our strong links to our past doesn’t allow us to get separated from tradition, thus creating some kind of a cultural gap, where we can’t find our true place in western modernism.” 

He has tried to show this gap in his works “in the dark and colored backgrounds that show a timeless place, where people are doubtful of their identity and worried about their future.” 

Some figures and faces are painted with two different elements, indicating their stressed minds. Some eyes show disappointment reflecting the scars in their hearts and souls.  A few figures show signs of hope.

“In some figures, I have painted ornaments such as earrings and necklaces; shiny faces with make-up in traditional dresses, a sign of their inner desire to return to past culture, and yet trying to keep up with modern trends of fashion, hiding their fear of being labeled socially backward. In a world of make-belief, they have created a false identity for themselves, being pretentious all the time.” 

  Oil, Ink in Paintings

Chamani uses both oil and ink. Ink is a medium of traditional Iranian paintings and oil a more modern medium. They clash in his works to reflect the traditional-modern contradictions in society. 

Traditional clothing of Qajar (1785-1925) and Sassanid (224-651) dynasties and other past eras are used to give an ancient look to the works. The figures are set in modern spaces with modern lighting and combined with Iranian traditional signs and icons. 

“I have chosen the title Amino Acids for my series. Amino acid is the fundamental element of body cells. We all have common elements but come in different forms. Accordingly, my works have a common core but show different forms and presentations,” Chamani said in a statement to introduce his latest display.

Artprice, a French company in art and antique market information, has ranked Chamani as among the top-5 promising artists of the Middle East.


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