جمعه، مرداد ۳۱، ۱۳۸۲

Monday, December 02, 2002 Djahangir M. Pirasteh Statement of Artistic Work Mashhad was my birthplace and the year, 1943. My father was my first art teacher in drawing, painting and sculpture. He is an accomplished artist now residing in Texas, who then trained my brother, Nasser a sculptor living in Minnesota, and my sister, Maliheh a painting teacher in Mashhad. I finished high school in 1963; and joined the Literary Corps, teaching in Mashhad and Karaj schools for three years. Then, I entered Tehran College of Dramatic Arts and also taking art courses in the Institute of Art & Design. During the year 1973, I studied Classical arts in London, England. Between 1974-80, I worked on my Master of the Arts in Stage Design at St Cloud State University, Minnesota. Later, it followed by Master of Fine Arts and PhD in History of Arts at University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the early 80's, I staged in 10 US cities Saedi's Mama Ensy, a play setting in Tabriz during the Constitutional Revolution. Since 1981, I have been teaching stage design, painting, watercolor and drawing at the College of Art & Design. Over the last 12 years my Persian calligraphic paintings number 68 pieces. Various art collectors in North America, Europe, and the Middle East have comissioned me. My works have also been exhibited in several countries. Their compositions are based on Persian abstract art and stylization of Persian calligraphy and indigenous colors. This art is described by non-shading (flat 2-dimensional and limited 3-dimensional) surfaces, non-perspective, ambiguity and light non-directionality. In my work, figures and Persian non-diacritical scripts correspond to the artist's invisible, mental world. On my canvas, there is nothing physical that is not a symbol of something in that invisible world. The metaphoric intention of a series of my artwork is to express the theme of "Sagheenameh," or "The Song of Love," (Saghi Song) which in English means, "Serving the Wine." This Sagheenameh theme was created by the Persian Sufist of 12th Century, Hafiz. It is his poem about Sagheenameh that constitutes the sole visual metaphor for my painted interpretations. I have attempted to refine and clarify the Sagheenameh theme and bring it into harmony in each compositional arrangement of colors, shapes, lines and patterns in my paintings. Sir John's English translation of parts of this verse is included at the end. Compositionally I attempt to clarify the two-dimensionally rendered dream-like images made in my visual diary. To do this I employ a juxtaposition of stylized human images and stylized Persian lettering. These images as a visual language are like letters to myself that clarify and reflect upon my lyric thinking and, in turn, help me to understand myself. I intend the union of symbolic images and calligraphy to imply the relationship between the spoken representations (God's word) and their corresponding objects (the Creation). The contrast between figures and calligraphy in my works attempts to show metaphorically this complementary relation- ship of God's word and his creation. I develop representational objects into illusory, simplified and symbolic images. Realism is denied by moving from three-dimensional to two-dimensional figures and from naturalistic to expressionistic colors not often found in nature. As realism is denied, the painting becomes more universal. Although my symbols are from the Persian Culture, it is my hope that a Persian would have no advantage over any other person in understanding my paintings. For, I intentionally remove dots from Persian alphabets to devoid their forms from denotative meanings. My intention is for the paintings to overcome culture-induced differences in visual perception. A deeper understanding of my content is not forced upon the observer, but it can be sought in the meaning of Hafiz's poem and in my lettering, if desired. I use the Sufist tradition and ideas as the basis for my paintings; and Love, Wine, Friendship and Beauty are the central symbols of the Sufi Beliefs. I use wine colored areas in my paintings as a metaphor for blood and purity, and gold as an indication that I revere the Sufist ideas as being of the highest order or quality. I also use metallic colors because I have learned to like them from their use in Persian miniature paintings. It seems impossible to communicate completely in one language, as it also seems impossible to communicate the same thing from one language to another. For instance, the description of love in English is not as extensive in comparison to the three Greek words for love, which are "Agape," "Philia," and "Eros." In Persian culture we have "Ashegh," "Valleh," Sheyda," "Heyran," and "Fareefteh," which are among almost thirteen words meaning love. Visual images can attempt to cross this barrier between different cultural languages in order to achieve full communication and understanding. In some of my works, which are pieces of sculpture, the intent is to convey similar images in three-dimensional illusions using lettering. This requires use of textured materials and similar colors. I use Styrofoam and other materials to create the sculptural qualities in open space (through glass) and on canvas. The media used in my work are oil and acrylic paints, canvas, and Styrofoam. I also formulated my own gold and silver paints using powdered metals and varnish. SAGHEENAMEH - Serving the Wine One form of mysticism in Islam is Sufism. The Sufi Belief is summed up in the following quotation from Abu Hamid Mohammad Al-Ghazzali, a 12th Century Sufi Leader: "The visible world was made to correspond to the world invisible and there is nothing in that world but is a symbol of something in that other world." The tradition is called Sufism because "Sufi" in Arabic means "wool" and wool is worn as the sign of brotherhood. A Sufi believes that the most important element in the universe is the human being who is created by God. God lends a spark of him and attaches a body to it. A Sufi believes that a person's duty is to wear away the body, "to die to self," in order that the spark within him may be permanently reunited with the one that the reality of truth. The Sufi Belief is that "Metaphor is a bridge to reality." The four Sufi symbols are Love, Wine, Beauty and Friendship. 1 Love, the first symbol, is the intoxication caused by the wine of unity and is the intimation of shadow, of the divine. The second symbol, Wine, is like blood in its purity. The Sufist believes this likeness is evident in the shared red color. Sufists also believe that it is good for these two pure substances to be brought together. They believe that wine brings out the true person. The third symbol, Beauty, is a part of all living things. That is why it is wrong to kill any living thing. In killing, one destroys beauty. The fourth and last symbol, Friendship, represents the Sufi belief that all men should be brothers. They should all love one another regardless of their differences. They must be able to accept one another. The Sufist believes that when God Speaks, his words are the essence of the spirit. The Sufist further believes that from that essence of spirit, the world comes to existence; and reflects the words of God. It follows that to see what something really is; one must discover its God-given spirit. For example, to the Sufi a rose is really a sign of man's fascination with and attraction to God, and wine symbolizes the lightheadedness one experiences when he draws close to God. ________________ 1 The eccelecticism of Catholicism and Manichaism in this formula is evident. -Ed. SAGHI SONG Come, saghi, come, your wine ecstatic bring, Augmenting grace, the soul's perfectioning; Fill up my glass, for I am desperate-- Lo, bankrupt of both parts is my estate. Bring, saghi, bring your wine, and Jamshid's bowl Shall therewith bear to view the vast void whole; pour on, that with this bowl to fortify I may, like Jamshid, every secret spy. Bring, saghi, bring your alchemy divine Where Qarun's wealth and Noah's years combine; Pour on, and to the pipe's note I shall say How Jamshid fared, and Ka'us, in their day. Sing of this old world's ways, and with your strings Make proclamation to those ancient kings. Still spreads the same far desert to be crossed Where Salm and Tur their mighty armies lost; Still stands the selfsame crumbling hostelry Afrasyab took his palace for to be. Where now the captains that his armies led, And where the sword-swift champion at their head? High was his palace; ruin is its doom; Lost now to memory his very tomb. Bring, saghi, bring your virgin chastely veiled, Your tavern-dweller drunkenly regaled; Fill up, for I am avid of èill fame, And seek in wine and bowl my utmost shame. Bring, saghi, bring such brain-enflaming juice As lions drink, and let wide havoc loose; Pour on, and lion-like I'll break the snare Of this old world, and rise to rule the air. Bring wine, O saghi, that the houris spice With angel fragrance out of Paradise; Pour on, and putting incense to the fire The mind's eternal pleasure I'll acquire. Bring, saghi, bring our throne-bestowing wine; My heart bears witness it is pure and fine; Pour on, that, shriven in the tide of it, I may arise triumphant from the pit. Why must I yet the body's captive be, When spiritual gardens call to me? Give me to drink, till I am full of wine, Then mark what wisdom and what power is mine; Into my keeping let your goblet pass, And I will view the world within that Glass; Intoxicate, of saintliness I'll sing, And in my beggar's rags I'll play the king, When Haffez lifts his voice in drunken cheer, Venus applauds his anthem from her sphere. posted by Sam at 2:50 PM

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