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May 10th 2019 - November 23rd 2019

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The Spark Is You from Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art.

Location: Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello, San Marco 2810, Venice. Google maps link.

Opening hours: 10:00 - 18:00, closed Sunday.

Curator: Ziba Ardalan

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents The Spark Is You, an official collateral event of the 58. Venice Biennale with works by nine contemporary Iranian artists presented through a prism of classical Persian poetry. Artists include Morteza Ahmadvand, Nazgol Ansarinia, Siah Armajani, Mitra Farahani, Sahand Hesamiyan, Y.Z. Kami, Farideh Lashai, Koushna Navabi and Navid Nuur. The exhibition will be accompanied by a poetry reading performance by Narguess Farzad on May 9th and 10th. 

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, the Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents The Spark Is You: Parasol unit in Venice, an exhibition that seeks to demonstrate the need for mutual respect and understanding between different nations and cultures. Fittingly this exhibition coincides with the 200th anniversary of West-oestlicher Divan (West-Eastern Divan), 1819, a book of lyrical poems written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in homage to the 14th century Persian poet Hafez.


The nine artists, all of whose vision looks beyond the ordinary, were selected for the affinity with openness, respect and human interconnectedness evinced in their work. Stemming directly from a long and magnificent tradition of Persian poetry, this philosophy of life is a fundamental element of the Iranian / Persian character. Dialogues open up across the exhibition, not only between the different generations of artists and the geographical regions from which they now draw inspiration, but also through a common desire to interact openly and respectfully with others, a quality that is a steadfast hallmark of the Persian people. And, just as Goethe through his poetry sought to bridge East and West, these artists too seek to communicate across all borders.


Comprised of paintings, sculptures, installations, multi-media and film, The Spark Is You: Parasol unit in Venice exhibition brings together Iranian artists of different generations, who now live and work either in or outside of Iran. Having had a similar early education and grounding in classical Persian poetry they have benefited from through processes that are rooted in concepts such as the use of metaphor, openness, dialogue and figurative thinking. Shown together their works create a sense of dialogue and exchange that is felt in many ways across and beyond the exhibition, not only between the artworks but also in the desire of the artists to communicate with thinkers from other cultures, and finally between art and music.


Venice, with its renowned history of being central to so many connections and exchanges between East and West, is an ideal setting for The Spark Is You exhibition. Presented at the Conservatorio di Musica in Venice, visual art and music interact harmoniously, a reminder that different art forms are all part of a single discourse. Each artist presents their work in a separate room or outdoor courtyard, which allows ample mental space for viewers to reflect on the exhibition, but also to create their own dialogue with and between the works.


Parasol unit appreciates the generous support of Soudavar Memorial Foundation, KayhanLife, Iran Heritage Foundation, Iran Society.

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