Ghasem Hajizadeh: Painter of Memories
„In Iran, I was painting the life of an artist who lives in Paris and misses home,” Paris-based Iranian painter tells VOA Persian TV’s Behnam Nateghi. „That was an exercise for what I am doing now,” Hajizadeh adds. Forty years ago, in Iran, Hajizadeh pioneered an Iranian form of pop art, rich with iconography, history and folklore. He has been living in Paris for nearly 30 years now. In an interview with VOA Persian TV’s Behnam Nateghi, he says he still feels the blow of the revolution, exile and whatever followed, „as if it was yesterday.” In this documentary, shot in Paris at Hajizadeh’s home and studios, he shows some of his latest paintings, including a series of Iranian drag queens he began making five years ago, based on half-a-century old photos he collected while living in Iran.
About Ghasem Hajizadeh
Born in 1947 in Lahijan, Iran, Ghassem Hajizadeh is a leading artist of his generation living and working in Paris. His admiration for old photographs and Iranian popular culture in addition to the diverse painting techniques he employs result in some unique and hearty pictorial expressions.
Ever since his graduation from the Tehran School of Fine Arts in 1967, Hajizadeh’s work has touched on the Persian Miniature and Coffee House paintings. This, however, has not made him technically or conceptually subdued by such traditional genres. What stands out in Hajizadeh’s 40 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.
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 popular culture.
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.
- (1969): Paintings, Leila Gandriz Gallery, Tehran, Iran
- (1972): Paintings, Iran America Society, Tehran, Iran
- (1973): Paintings, Iran America Society, Isfahan
- (1973): Paintings, Iran America Society, Ahwaz