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Visual Dialogues

Behjat Sadr & Nazgol Ansarinia

November 2015

Visual Dialogues at Total Arts at the Courtyard - The Inbetween Space, is the first in a new series of exhibitions. Juxtaposing different artistic generations and aesthetics, The Inbetween Space encompasses what the series is all about: neither commercial nor completely institutional. Its place is not in a museum, commercial gallery or university classrooms but in an the Inbetween Space.


The first of these Dialogues will be between Behjat Sadr (1924-2009) and Nazgol Ansarinia (b.1979). The late Sadr was a pioneer within the Iranian art scene, and her subtle approach to three-dimensional and kinetic work, alongside her multimedia collages, were innovative and groundbreaking. A new surge of interest in her rich and varied artistic practice is in part due to the admirable publication Traces, alongside Mitra Farahani's documentary Behjat Sadr: Time Suspended. Many of the works in this mini retrospective are being exhibited for the first time, allowing viewers an unprecedented chance to become familiar with the works of one of Iran's most innovative artists.


Two generations later, Ansarinia is also a pioneer, continuing Sadr's legacy with a 21st century aesthetic. The Inbetween Space presents examples of her various periods of research, presenting a survey of the award-winning artist's minimalist approach into three-dimensionality and her meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship. Her work has become known for its ability to transform and use space as well as its subtle aesthetic.


It is through the works of these two artists, separated by time, yet working very much in tandem that we are taken on a journey from one century and one dimension into the next.


The idea of dialogue by means of works and not words is the essence of this series of exhibition. Finally it is always the work that has to do the talking and the spectator as to do the detective work and fill in the subtext.


Behjat Sadr (b 1924 - Aug. 11, 2009) was an Iranian painter whose works have been exhibited in major cities across the world, such as New York, Paris, and Rome. Sadr began her studies at the University of Tehran faculty of fine arts. After her graduation, she won a scholarship to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome at the Naples Academy of Fine Arts. Sadr's first major exhibition was at the twenty-eighth Venice Biennial in 1956. In 1957, Sadr returned to the University of Tehran as a member of faculty. She died of a heart attack on August 11, 2009. Behjat Sadr was the first female contemporary painter to be considered on the same level as her male colleagues in Iran.


Nazgol Ansarnia, Born in 1979 in Tehran, Nazgol Ansarinia trained in design in London before completing an MFA at the California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco in 2003 before returning to her native Iran.

Ansarinia's practice is inspired by rhythms, routines and systems, which are interwoven and concealed in our daily activities. Working in a variety of media; her subjects determine the medium she chooses. Her works are included in many international collections and publications and has won prestigious awards among them Abraaj Capital Art Prize in March 2009.


Mitra Farahani is an internationally acclaimed Iranian filmmaker and painter, lives in Paris. Born in Tehran in Iran in 1975, she graduated in graphic design from Azad University in Tehran in 1997 and then immigrated to Paris where she worked in performance and fine art. She studied at ENSAD in Paris from 2000. Her first documentary short film JUSTE UNE FEMME won the Teddy Award at the 2002 Berlinale. TABOUS – ZOHRE & MANOUCHEHR (2004) and FIFI HOWLS FROM HAPPINESS (2013), two feature documentaries, were each premiered in the Panorama section of the Berlin International Film Festival. In 2007, her documentary BEHJAT SADR: SUSPENDED TIME portrayed one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionist painting in Iran.

Press coverage of the exhibition in Gulf News

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