Art Radar Asia

Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

  • Photobucket
  • About Art Radar Asia

    Art Radar Asia News conducts original research and scans global news sources to bring you selected topical stories about the taste-changing, news-making and the up and coming in Asian contemporary art.
  • Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘Parviz Tanavoli’

The Dubai art market and its future – Nation, Guardian

Posted by artradar on December 25, 2008


Farhad Moshiri

Farhad Moshiri

ART MARKET DUBAI

A spate of new gallery openings mostly in the city’s financial hub – the Dubai International Financial Centre – goes ahead despite the recent turmoil amongst financial institutions reports the Nation.

The global turmoil certainly hasn’t affected the number of art galleries in Dubai. Cuadro, Opera Gallery, Art Sawa and Art Space (which relocated), all opened their doors in the weeks directly following the liquidations, bail outs and nationalisations of some of the world’s most trusted financial institutions.

Each of the new galleries are attempting to carve out their own niche in the increasingly crowded Dubai scene. They flaunt their belief in art as an investment and all but Art Sawa are located within less than a minute’s walk from one another, in the heart of the Dubai International Financial Centre.

Being close to monied clientele is undoubtedly one of the biggest advantages of the DIFC location.

“Typically, the people who buy from us are the kind that can definitely afford it,” says Palestinian-born Maliha Tabari, the managing director of the Art Space gallery. “I have to admit, mostly they are people in the banking industry.”

In a little over half a decade, Tabari has witnessed a phenomenal growth in the Dubai market.

“I’ve been in Dubai for six years and I came when there was almost no art,” Tabari says.”At the time, if a painting was $3,000 (Dh11,000), it was like, ‘That’s so expensive’. Nothing could sell at that price. We were trying hard to sell pieces by Farhad Moshiri for about $2,000 (Dh7,500) or $3,000 (Dh11,000) – now his work is worth $200,000 (Dh740,000) or $300,000 (Dh1.1million),” she says. “We are talking about a five-year period, so it really happened fast.”

The last five years have seen a massive proliferation in commercial art galleries in the city.

From just two names to around 30, the list includes international sellers and high-end spaces showcasing masterpieces with million-dollar price tags.

Opera Gallery’s new space in Dubai is the company’s 10th global outlet and specialises in high-end works. Its walls currently host pieces by Picasso, Dali, Monet and Renoir, as well as other contemporary and Middle Eastern artists.

Auction houses have been catalysts in building the market for Middle Eastern art.

In April, Christie’s  set a record for the sale of an individual piece of Middle East art, the $2.8million (Dh10.3m) sale of Praviz Tanavoli’s sculpture, The Wall (Oh Persepolis). Will Lawrie, the head of sales for Arab and Iranian contemporary art at Christie’s Middle East, says the sale was “the single most flabbergasting figure” of the year.

“The Parviz Tanavoli sculpture was unique, really a one off thing from the 1970s. An unbelievable thing.” Standing almost two metres tall, the bronze monolith is covered with calligraphic engravings. Although the sculpture would look at home in ancient Babylon, the figures upon it resemble robotic, space age beings.

The commercial market activity has helped stimulate local artist production and the creation of non-profit space to support them.

“There has never been a recognition of being an artist as a profession [in the Emirates]. But there is now a glimmer that people are realising that they could do this for a living,” says Jill Hoyle, the manager of Tashkeel.

A hub for young artists and designers, Tashkeel opened in January 2008. It is supported by the avid artist and photographer Lateefa bint Maktoum, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid.

The non-profit organisation tries to encourage artists on the ground level by offering free studio space.

She says that the proliferation of galleries and growing investment market has made art much more high profile. “People are more aware of the role that art plays in life. I think now it is being taken more seriously.”

Still, the UAE is not a place for starving artists displaying in abandoned warehouses. The blurry-eyed, caffeine-addicted conceptualists of Paris and New York are probably in no rush to move here. For artists who are not selling in six figures, rent is a major obstacle and prohibitively expensive studio space make the UAE “scene” more of a marketplace than a breeding ground.

Parviz Tanavoli The Wall (Oh Persepolis)

Parviz Tanavoli The Wall (Oh Persepolis)

But confidence in the art market is waning alongside tumbling asset prices. Dubai’s stock market has lost close to 70% of its value since the summer. Two of the UAE’s largest mortgage firms, Amlak Finance and Tamweel, were nationalised last week. What is the future for the economy of Dubai? The Guardian reports that

“Dubai’s free zones, real estate and tourism are all highly susceptible to a global downturn. Real estate is the flagship and if confidence has been knocked, which it clearly has been, it’s in trouble. Now the confidence has gone, credit worthiness has taken a knock,” said Christopher Davidson, a Gulf expert at Durham University.

Nakheel, the developer of man-made palm tree-shaped islands on which celebrities such as David Beckham have bought homes, announced earlier this week that it had cut 500 jobs -15% of its workforce – and was scaling back projects.

Though thousands of expatriate professionals are expected to lose their jobs, Dubai’s optimism may not be entirely misplaced. A survey by a leading financial services firm this week predicted that the Gulf as a whole would escape recession, with a growth rate of 3.6% next year.

And this is not the only voice expressing optimisim for the longer term. Former HSBC chairman David Eldon who has  long term and continuing professional ties with Dubai notes in his blog Eldon-Online

The reality now is that any hopes of economic immunity from the global meltdown, and any talk of decoupling are now firmly consigned to the fantasy file. All economies are being affected by the global downturn, and that includes Dubai.

Of course, the other reality is that Dubai has some underlying strengths that have spawned its growth to date. Underlying strengths that remain intact despite the current economic environment. Underlying strengths such as an excellent, if still incomplete, infrastructure a well regulated financial sector and an inherent openness to people, companies and capital from elsewhere. All tied in to solid macroeconomic fundamentals.

He counters concerns about Dubai’s future growth due to tight credit arguing that the perception of some rating agencies that Dubai lacks the “financial muscle to cover its debt”  is misplaced and that some reporting has been “misleading”. 

The reality is Dubai has already publicly declared it can cover repayments for the next seven quarters. But the media have a hard time believing senior officials, and reports are grudging in the extreme.

I wouldn’t write-off Dubai’s resilience, or its future.

For more reports from Dubai, Middle Eastern art, market watch reports from around the world.

Related posts

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia for latest news of art markets on the Asian continent

Advertisements

Posted in Auctions, Calligraphy, Dubai, Galleries, Market watch, Middle East, Middle Eastern, Recession | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Latest update on market for Iranian art – New York Times

Posted by artradar on December 8, 2008


Mohammad Ehsai

Mohammad Ehsai

 

 

IRANIAN ART

The New York Times has written a useful summary survey about art from Iran, the market for it over the last two years and what has been happening in recent auctions.

Artists worked in relative obscurity until about two years ago when an eager market for their work developed. Iranian artists dominate auctions of Middle Eastern art held by the international auction houses which set up in Dubai in 2006. Auction results were hit hard in October/November 2008 but there is still interest.

 

“Prices for art in the October and November auctions dropped drastically. Mohammad Ehsai, who sold one piece for $1.2 million in April, for example, sold a piece in October for $482,000. Still, 40 of the more than 70 Iranian pieces that were offered were sold, Christie’s said.”

 

The number of galleries has mushroomed despite the recession

New galleries have sprung up in Tehran, even after oil prices began to plummet, and gallery hopping has become something of a hobby in the capital.Since the loosening of restrictions in 1998, the number of art galleries in Tehran has increased to 60 from 8. At least three of those new galleries opened in October and November. .

and collectors swarm to auction house sales dominated by Iranian works.

” The artists are benefiting from a surge in interest in their work in Iran itself that began after the international auctions lifted the value of their work. At an auction in Dubai in October, the newfound enthusiasm for Iranian art was obvious. About 2,000 art collectors gathered at the fancy ballroom of Emirates Tower Hotel in Dubai for the Christie’s auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art, featuring Arab, Iranian, Turkish and Western Art. Despite the show’s name, the walls were dominated by Iranian pieces and the auction room was filled with Persian speakers.”The auctions always have more Iranian works, by number of lots but also by total sale amount,” said Ali Bagherzadeh, the director of the Xerxes Fine Arts gallery in London.”

Mohammad Ehsai

Mohammad Ehsai

Political events in Iran  influenced the subject matter of artworks:  artists struggled with new restrictions introduced by hard-line religious authorities after the 1979 revolution. Depictions of the human body were banned for example. But there was some political support for art between 1979 and 2005

“the artists benefited from the years when Mohammad Khatami, a reformist president, was in power (from 1997 to 2005) and the government began to actively promote artists, rather than controlling them as it did right after the revolution.

Although the rules have tightened somewhat again under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranians have responded as they often do – occasionally breaking the rules in private. Some artists, for instance, have depicted politically touchy subjects, but sell those works from their homes or abroad.”

Iranian art currently on the market is divided into two eras : modern (pre-revolution) and contemporary (post-revolution). The moderns include sculptor Tanavoli who was part of the Saqqa-Khaneh  (drinking fountain) school which is concerned with Iranian culture and the Shiite faith and are known for abstract calligraphy works. Contemporary artists, such as Rokneddin Haerizadeh,  have developed individual styles and are inspired their physical surroundings and the political events of their time: eight years of war with Iraq and three decades of political suppression.

New York Times

In an increasingly parched global economy though the auction houses continue to focus on the Middle East as a bright spot despite the recent sales busts in Dubai. Sotheby’s announced that it

 will be holding what they describe as “the first ever major international auction series held in the Middle East.”

Artmarket Monitor

See latest Art Radar stories on Iranian art

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia the easy way to keep up to date

Posted in Auctions, Calligraphy, Dubai, Iranian, Islamic art, Market watch, Recession | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Buying frenzy lights up Iranian art market

Posted by artradar on July 10, 2008


Source: Middle East Times

 

 

 

IRANIAN ART MARKET The prices have soared by a factor of 20 within two years, the galleries are packed with prospective buyers and the works are both modern and daring, but this is not a description of the art scene in New York, Paris or London, but Tehran. Far removed from the increasingly tense standoff over the country’s nuclear programme and domestic frustration because of rising inflation, Iran’s best known artists are enjoying a huge rise in demand for their work.

 

Interest in buying art increased in last 2 years

“For 30 years no one was interested in us. Today everyone wants to buy,” Parviz Tanavoli, 72, Iran’s best known sculptor, told AFP. “People have money. They used to invest it in property. Today they see there are other places to put it.”

A 1975 sculpture by Tanavoli, “The Wall (Oh Persepolis),” sold in late April for 2.84 million dollars at a Christie’s auction in Dubai — the highest figure ever reached for a contemporary Iranian work.The 1.8-metre-high (6-feet) bronze block was typical of Tanavoli’s intricate style, partly inspired by the ancient art of the Achaemenian empire, and praised by experts as being more than worth its stratospheric price.

The younger artist Farhad Moshiri, known for his bright three-dimensional paintings of jars emblazoned in calligraphic Persian script, has seen his canvases sell for up to 750,000 dollars.Lesser known artists have seen their work sell at the numerous galleries in upmarket northern Tehran for between 20,000 and 30,000 dollars. Just two years ago the asking price would have been more like 2,000.

 

More buyers for investment

The boom is another example of the striking gulf between wealth and poverty in Tehran, where the rich can afford imported cars and luxury apartments while the worst off struggle to make ends meet. Despite the rise in prices there are more buyers than before. Many people want to make investments,” said Shahnaz Kansari, who heads the Moon art gallery in Tehran.

Amir Hossein Etemad, of the Negarkhaneh Etemad gallery, warned: “I’m worried that this will prove to be nothing more than a speculative bubble that will explode. “But it’s true that the prices were very low before.”

Abstract tendencies have long appeared the most popular in modern Iranian art, possibly because of the strict rules governing the portrayal of the human form in an Islamic state. Iranian visual art also crosses genres in unusual ways: Cannes prize-winning Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami is also a renowned artist whose stark photography is a major draw at Tehran galleries.

 

Iranian art crosses genre boundaries

One of the fathers of Iranian modernist painting was the poet Sohrab Sepheri, considered one of the greatest of all Iranian modern writers, whose abstract landscapes are true collector’s items.”We are at the beginning of the road. More and more there are individual exhibitions by Iranian artists abroad,” said the painter Farideh Lashaie.”Iranian culture used to be known abroad from the names of ancient poets like Hafez, Ferdowsi and Rumi. But painting and contemporary sculpture also have something to say.”As with cinema, people did not expect to see paintings and sculptures like this coming from Iran. Perhaps this explains their success.”

© 2008 Agence France-Presse

Image details: Iranians visit an exhibition by female artist Golnaz Afruz at the Mah Gallery in Tehran AFP

See:

Subscribe to Art Radar Asia now

Posted in Iranian, Market watch, Sculpture | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »