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Laal Collection Volume ||

Fereydoun Ave Collection

February - September 2024


This exhibition, coinciding with Art Dubai, spotlights five decades of the renowned Iranian artist Fereydoun Ave's collection of modern and contemporary Iranian and international art (1959 - present). It is a complementary presentation to the initial chapter of this traveling exhibition series, originally conceived by the Carnegie Museum of Art for the 58th Carnegie Internationa and later on view at the Jameel Art Center, Dubai.


Fereydoun Ave’s Laal Collection, named after the artist’s mother, forms a testament to his interlocking roles as an artist, curator, designer, and collector. The body of work offers a visual portrait of Ave’s existence. The collection departs from Ave’s early influences in Western art. Works by the likes of Warhol, Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly, with whom Ave shared a Seychelles studio during the 1990s, come into conversation with pieces by the artists that Ave encountered in Iran - Zenderoudi, Mohases, Kiarostami - and the rising talent that he acquired works from later in life.


Ave embraces the perspective that an artist should experiment with everything, not confined to a single medium or mode of artmaking. This philosophy is reflected in the selected works, showcasing far-reaching diversity in medium, approach, and aesthetic concerns.


Spread across two floors in Total Arts Gallery, the exhibition commences with a single work by Ave, part of his Letters to the Dead series, a recent and ongoing body of work through which the artist expresses the unsaid to those that he has lost. The placement of the work aims to provide insight into the contemporary concerns of the collector, artist, and curator before visitors navigate his collection.


This group exhibition brings together over 70 artists, featuring works spanning disciplines including painting, sculpture, works on paper, archival material, and photographs. The collection offers a gaze into the dynamic and contested cultural history of 20th and 21st-century Iran and beyond. While there is no overt conceptual or technical thread connecting the artworks, Ave, as curator and collector is the guiding force that ties everything together. He understands the works coming together in visual dialogue, a conversation transcending regions, moments in time, and easily readable points of identification.


The Laal Collection’s Journey


Over the past five decades, Fereydoun Ave has amassed a significant collection of artwork, anchored in personal experiences, connections, sensibilities, and circumstances. As an artist, curator, and designer, Ave has been a central figure in shaping Iran's cultural landscape. Upon returning to Iran in 1970 after completing his education abroad, he orchestrated seminal exhibitions, established independent art spaces, and provided crucial support to numerous emerging artists. Fundamental to Ave is the broader accessibility and opportunity for public interaction with the Laal Collection. Public access, in his view, serves as a ready-made reference, allowing people to connect with works he collected before, after, and during the Islamic revolution, forming a bridge across three definitive periods.


Exhibited Artists


Afsoon | Nazgol Ansarinia | Reza Aramesh | Shaqayeq Arabi | Sonia Balassanian | Reza Bangiz | Christo | Reza Derakhshani | Mostafa Dashti | Bita Fayazi | Shadi Ghadirian | Mohammad Hossein Gholamzadeh | Rokni Haerizadeh | Ramin Haerizadeh | Ghasem Hajizadeh | Sahand Hesamian | Shahla Hosseini | Hadi Hazaveh | Robert Jacob | Abbas Kiarostami | Farideh Lashai | Farshid Maleki | Farshid Mesghali | Joan Mitchelle | Robert Motherwell | Houman Mortazavi | Shirin Neshat | Timo Nasseri | Leila Pazooki | Shahpour Pouyan | Pantea Rahmani | Hesam Rahmanian | Behjat Sadr | Faisal Samra | Parviz Tanavoli | Cy Twombly | Andy Warhol | Dariush Zandi | Hossein Zenderoudi and more.

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