Arts of Stone and Metal: Tehran Intl. Sculpture Symposium

TEHRAN, Oct. 13 (MNA) – Tehran is currently hosting the 7th International Tehran Sculpture Symposium, gathering 33 Iranian and foreign artists to showcase their sculpting talents in a professional, friendly atmosphere.

In today’s world, visual arts have come out of the confinement of museums and galleries to nestle comfortably in open spaces around the cities. In many countries across the world, symposiums have led to the formation of ecomuseums as the fifth generation of museums, since a city’s open spaces can easily function as an ecomuseum, bringing art into the heart of nature and environment.  

In line with this view, the Organization of Tehran Beautification has been holding an international sculpture symposium for seven consecutive years.

Now in its seventh year, Tehran Sculpture Symposium has gathered 33 Iranian and international sculptors in the Iranian capital city of Tehran’s Milad Tower to showcase their best stone and metal creations to the general public in the main and side segments of the event.

According to Isa Alizadeh, Head of the Organization of Tehran Beautification, 14 foreign artists from 13 countries namely Russia, Belarus, Albania, Portugal, Italy, Serbia, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Peru, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania are participating in the event.

Nine Iranian sculptors are also taking part in the stone and metal sculpture symposium, with ten university students presenting their works in the side section of the symposium to boost the event’s educational dimension. 

Jamshid Moradian, an Iranian sculptor, believes that the major difference between creating during a symposium and creating at the studio is that people from various walks of life have the opportunity to come visit the creative process during the symposium and talk to the sculptor at work. “Many patriarchal taboos of art can be broken during a symposium as people watch the artist during the artistic creation and the transformation of the shape of a material,” said Moradian.

Saeed Shahlapour, a veteran Iranian sculptor as well as a member of Policy Making Council, also believes that holding symposiums help form dialogs among artists; “a new section that has been added to this year’s edition of the symposium is the conference which is a very good decision and has increased the theoretical aspect of the event,” he said.

With only three more days left to the end of the symposium, artists have already finished the general outlines of their creations and were busy doing the last minute touch-ups. Roland Hotf from Germany was building a stone sculpture he called ‘Living History’; it was a huge, intimidating sculpture comprised of several little heads on a body that seemed to be ending in two legs. “It’s about how big things are actually made of smaller parts,” explained Hoft, “on the top of the column there are many people that create the big column which represents the history and this history is continually in movement; so basically great things can only exist from the small things.”  

His inspiration for the sculpture, he said, came from Tehran’s skyline and all the little buildings that in the end paint the whole picture of a metropolis. Hoft was especially taken with the professional organization of the symposium and the friendly people he had met so far and said he was enjoying his time as a participant of this international event.  

Another sculptor from Albania, Butrint Morina, was working on a sculpture he called ‘first efforts’ which seemed to be comprised of a head on a stretched body with four legs. “By first efforts I mean the first efforts of a child before s/he starts walking, his or her attempts at moving is first to crawl until s/he learns how to stand on his or her two feet. To me, this stage is very important and that’s why I tried to capture it in the sculpture.”

Morina enjoyed the collective work with other fellow artists and praised the atmosphere of the symposium for providing the opportunity to work and interact with other sculptors from different countries; “I actually love what the other artists are doing in the metal section,” said Morina whose own sculpture is actually of stone.

Another sculpture that grabbed my attention was a stone structure of apparently a curved body on two legs. Although the symposium did not have a particular theme, a number of sculptures seemed to evolve around the human form and experiences. Stefano Grattarola of Italy said it was called ‘Behind Appearance;’ the people that all wear masks and you have no way inside their true selves and the curves actually represent the differences among people and the masks they wear.

A round, spiral stone sculpture also caught my eyes. Called ‘The Beginning of Life’, the Greek artist Odysseas Tosounidis said the carvings on the stone show the path of life, with humans being in the dark before and even after birth. But the light that they allow to shine upon their life will show them the way which will ultimately end in death. The circle of life, perhaps.  

What the artists were all on consensus about Tehran Sculpture Symposium was how easy and available everything had been made for them. They were given free access to all the materials and tools they needed, and the assistants were also doing a good job both by helping out the sculptures and learning something from them in the process.  

The metal section has been recently added to the event, which seemed to have been a very good decision on the part of the symposium’s organizers. The metal structures all stood proud and tall against the backdrop of the morning skyline, with Milad Tower towering over them like a caring, watchful parent.

One of the metal sculptures in particular was very eye-catching. It was built to resemble a huge cow, horns and all. The artist was actually from Iran, young and full of ambitions and ideas. Peyman Bakhshi who was enjoying his first experience working on his own and not as an assistant was particularly happy about the fact that this year’s edition of the symposium has also included a metal section. “Working with metal has the advantage of allowing the artist to work in greater dimensions,” he said while pointing to his giant creation of a bull, or cow, as he called it, the inspiration for which had come from broken iron barrels used as water containers. “The cow here represents a calm and steady appearance but an inconspicuous and mysterious inward life,” he said.

Another metal creation by Romanian sculptor Bogdan Adrian Lefter was called ‘Falling Star.’ While the concept of a falling star has different meanings in different cultures – some wish upon it and some believe it to mean death – for Lefter, "the star actually represents that particular moment of brightness in one’s life when things become clearer; a moment of epiphany if you will."

A geometrical structure by Thierry Ferreira from Portugal also caught my attention. Called Cubic#51020161, an enigmatic name for an enigmatic-looking sculpture. “It represents death,” said the artist, referring to the drooping form of the structure which apparently was made to signify the collapsing onto oneself, the end of one’s days, so to speak.  

For out last stop, I decided to check out a stone work by an Iranian artist whose work was a magnificent structure of an open wing. “It’s called Wings to Fly,” said the artist Saeid Ahmadi, adding it has a symbolic meaning, ‘to have your wishes come true.’ “And by wishes, I mostly mean the wish to reach the heavens, the world beyond,” he said.

Having already worked in some 15 symposiums around the world, Ahmadi found the idea of leaving a piece of his creation in another country a highly rewarding and beautiful experience. “You get the opportunity to give life to an idea and that idea gets to live on in another part of the world,” he said.    

He said his sculpture would most probably be placed around the Milad Tower.

“Executive-wise, Iran holds one of the most professional symposiums in the world. The facilities it provides the artist with, a workshop in which they can repair their sculptures and so on, makes Tehran Sculpture Symposium one of the best around,” said Ahmadi.

Artistic symposiums such as this, when held internationally, provide good opportunities for both Iranian and foreign artists with common interests and objectives to gather together and use the experiences of one another to improve their skills and also introduce their own techniques. Iran has been quite successful in organizing the event, now in its seventh year and attracting the attention of more and more artists from around the world.

The 7th edition of Tehran International Sculpture Symposium opened on 23 September and will last until 16 October, 2015 in the Iranian capital city of Tehran’s Milad Tower.


News Code 110911


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