A Retrospective of Works on Paper (1978-2011)
18 May -13 June, 2012

Assar Art Gallery is honored to present A Retrospective of Works on Paper (1978 – 2011), an exhibition of paintings by Ghassem Hajizadeh. 

The exhibition features 20 works of this leading Iranian artist who was born in Lahijan, Iran in 1947 and currently lives and works in Paris. Hajizadeh’s exhibited works date back to 1978. Following a detour in abstract painting after his graduation from the Tehran School of Fine Arts in 1967, Hajizadeh realized the potentials of old family photographs and newspaper cut-outs mostly showing Iranian popular or unpopular figures such as musicians, singers, theater troops,  poets, political figures, aristocrats and ordinary families who lived in the past century.

His admiration for old photographs and Iranian popular culture in addition to the diverse painting techniques he employs have resulted in some unique and hearty pictorial expressions in the 40 years of his artistic career. 

In his paintings, Hajizadeh abstracts old photos by reproducing some sections and combining some related and unrelated images into a new unity. By using a mixture of techniques of watercolor, acrylic, gouache, pencil, pastel and varnish, he creates incredibly contemporary imagery with a sense of nostalgia. By adding his own futuristic perspective to the old snapshots, he twists and twirls the documental value of each photograph and creates an artistic interpretation of the Iranian popular culture and events of the past.

Hajizadeh’s work has touched on the Persian Miniature and Coffee House paintings ever since he started painting. This, however, has not made him technically or conceptually subdued by such traditional genres.  What stands out in his long years of artistry in Iran and abroad is his individual pictorial tone in depicting a blend of his dreams and hopes overlaid on his native historic memory without being captive of emigrants’ nostalgia.

What is important to Hajizadeh is the portrayal of the figures, perhaps of what they are supposed to represent and not necessarily correct and familiar proportions. The figures in his paintings are sometimes taller and/or thinner than normal, sometimes wide-shouldered and giant-like, sometimes they are completely disfigured by having strange arms for instance and sometimes they follow the correct proportions.  It is as though he plays with historical figures and intends to paint them as how he sees them.  The colorful and curved lines and the soft mingling of diverse elements in the background and foreground all create an imaginary ambiance with real figures that make one float through fantasy, memory and creative pleasure.  His work has been compared to that of John Clem Clarke’s and Malcolm.

Hajizadeh has extensively exhibited worldwide over the last 40 years and his work can be found in myriad of private and public collections such as the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Seoul, the National Museum of Bangladesh and the International Museum of Naïve Art in France only to name a few.