ArtintheCity speaks to artist Ramtin Zad, currently on show in Etemad Gallery
Iranian artist Ramtin Zad brings his new exhibition of works to Etemad Gallery in Dubai this month, and ArtintheCity had a quick chat with him about his new series of paintings and sculptures. Having previously exhibited his work internationally, he now brings his colourful dream-like landscapes back to Dubai.
‘Resurrection’ is on show now at Etemad Gallery until 24 May
In ‘Resurrection’, we can see that you have started to produce sculpture in addition to paintings; what prompted this change in medium, and how does it enrich the themes which you work with?
There are outstanding and recurring subjects that have a crucial role to play in my work. These subjects stem from my subconscious. I made sculptures using these subjects to create an opportunity for my viewers to see not only a two dimensional image but to get involved with it. Since my sculptures are ingrained with my paintings and drawings, they effectively enrich the themes i work with.
Your sculpture ‘Kabuki’ incorporates aspects of the Japanese theatre Kabuki. What is it that interests you about this particular theatre movement, and why did you choose to work with a three dimensional monumental vase rather than a canvas for this piece?
The scenes of battle and dance, animals and mythology made an impression on me. The fear of nature in them was tangible. It seemed like a parallel to me and my place in relation to my environment. Firstly, these are teapots not vases. The reason why i use them was the old custom that Samurais used to drink SAKI of these teapots. In Iran, it is also customary that teapots are engraved and painted on the surface.
Your work features symbolism and allusions to history and culture. How important is it to you that viewers understand all of these references, and are they open to interpretation?
There are some signs and symbols in paintings and sculptures that rise from the region in live and work in. these symbols directly affect my works. I do care about how people connect with my work but because of my style, each individual interprets these works personally.
Persian literature and folklore are recurring subjects in your works. Can you tell us why these interest you, and would you agree that the symbolic nature (of certain pieces of literature and folklore) compliment the fusion of dream and reality in your works?
From my point of view, the persian literature is not always the subject i work with but i believe because of the narrative and imagery quality of my county’s stories, by hearing and reading them, I create some images in my mind. Since i improvise while painting, i sometimes apply these images in my work. I agree that these symbols compliment the fusion of dream and reality and they are also romantic and the my work’s outcome is somehow romantic, part of reality integrated with dream, describing a passionate moment. Generally, the entity of romanticism has orientation to dream and illusion and also to the historical past and anonymous lands.
Figures often seem to play a secondary role to the landscape and flora in this series of works. Was this a conscious decision, and how does it add to the themes of your work?
It is not necessarily the way you mentioned but in the wild nature I find some forms that figures are created by. These forms and figures appear quickly and they are sometimes flora like and sometimes human like etc. my work is the result of improvisatory painting and unconscious decisions.