Laal Collection Fereydoun Ave
Total Arts: Laal Collection Volume II Fereydoun Ave Collection
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Total Arts in Dubai is hosting an exhibition that spotlights 50 years of the expansive Laal Collection of modern and contemporary Iranian art (1959 – present). The collection is amassed by Iranian artist, curator, designer, and collector Fereydoun Ave who stands as a pivotal figure in shaping Iran’s cultural landscape. This show is a complementary presentation to the initial chapter of the exhibit series conceived by the Carnegie Museum of Art for the 58th Carnegie International (later, it was on display at the Jameel Art Center). The exhibition at Total Arts will be available to attend until September 2024.

Ave’s Laal Collection, which features 70+ artists, offers a captivating journey through the vibrant cultural tapestry of 20th and 21st-century Iran and beyond. It departs from his early influences in Western art. Masterpieces by renowned figures like Warhol, Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly come into conversation with art pieces by Iranian creatives, such as Zenderoudi, Mohases, and Kiarostami, as well as works by emerging artists Ave acquired later in life. The collection also includes artworks by Afsoon, Reza Aramesh, Sonia Balassanian, Christo, Mostafa Dashti, Shadi Ghadirian, Ghasem Hajizadeh, Robert Jacob, Joan Mitchelle, Robert Motherwell, and many others.

Laal Collection Volume || Fereydoun Ave Collection (installation view). Total Arts, Dubai, 2024. Courtesy of Total Arts.

Ave embraces the perspective that an artist should experiment with everything, and the selection of works on display reflects this philosophy. The exhibition that spans two floors of the Total Arts Gallery showcases a full range of creations which include paintings, sculptures, works on paper, archival material, and photos. Although there is no apparent conceptual or technical thread connecting the artworks, Ave as a curator and collector is the guiding force tying everything together.

In addition, the show presents a single work by Ave. It is part of his poignant Letters to the Dead series through which he expresses the unsaid to those whom he has lost. The work is placed in such a way as to provide insight into the artist’s contemporary concerns before visitors navigate his collection.

Laal Collection Volume || Fereydoun Ave Collection (installation view). Total Arts, Dubai, 2024. Courtesy of Total Arts.

About Fereydoun Ave

Ave (b. 1945, Tehran, Iran) lives and works between his home city and Paris (France). In 1963, he moved to the USA to pursue his education. Ave received his BA in Applied Arts from Theatre from Arizona State University in 1964. At the same time, he studied at the University of Seven Seas (Orange, California). In 1969, the artist graduated from the New York University’s Film School (New York).

Ave came back to Iran in 1970. He organised exhibitions at the Iran-America Society’s Tehran Cultural Centre and the Zand Gallery while working as a stage designer at the Theatre Workshop (Kargah-e Namayesh). The artist stayed in Iran after the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and founded 13 Vanak Street, an independent exhibition space in Tehran.

Untitled, ca. 2020
Fereydoun Ave, Untitled, ca. 2020. Mixed Media on Silkscreen. 50 × 70 cm

In his mixed media works, Ave reflects on his relationship with age, myths, plants, elements, seasons, moods, and heredity. His work also reflects and responds to different socio-political events and changing global cultures. Among the sources of Ave’s inspiration are Iranian art, classical Persian literature, and abstract works of Cy Twombly.

To get more information about Laal Collection Volume II Fereydoun Ave Collection, please visit the official web page of the show.

You might also be interested in attending The Casablanca Art School: Platforms and Patterns for a Postcolonial Avant-Garde (1962–1987), an exhibition organised by Sharjah Art Foundation, Tate St Ives, and Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.