26 Aug Life story with sculptures by Siavash Jaraiedi
Mr. Siavash Jaraiedi, please tell us a little about your artistic journey. How did you get interested in art?
When I was ten years old, I began sculpting. I had the chance to visit an art workshop managed by Mr. Shahabi, who saw my work and suggested to my parents that I attend an adult class. Following his advice, I started the classes of Professor Hamid Rezaei, the president of the Association of Sculptors and a professor at the University of Tehran. Professor Rezaei worked diligently with me on all the exercises that were taught in the classes of the University of Arts, even though I was much younger than my other classmates. I am grateful to Professor Rezaei for taking my apprenticeship seriously and providing me with a great opportunity to reach my goals in life. I still keep sculptures of him in my workshop.
In 2008, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in architecture from a university in Iran. Afterward, I decided to continue my studies abroad and chose a university in Germany for my master’s degree in advanced architectural design. During this time, I became more familiar with parametric approaches and other modern architectural approaches that were, at the time, relatively new. After completing my studies, I returned to Iran and spent the next four years studying for two years and working for two. This is when I decided to return to Iran.
After returning to Iran, I had the great opportunity of meeting Professor Tanavoli and being a student in his workshops. He even offered for me to work in his own workshop as an assistant and learn the human and artistic experiences of the master. Working in Master Tanavoli’s workshop was a nerve-wracking experience, as I was surrounded by everlasting artworks that gave me the confidence to do anything else. All in all, the arrangement of time I had was not a bad arrangement.
You have created a new image of wearable ornaments and sculptures for your audience. What was your motivation and goal in creating architectural elements as wearable sculptures?
Two issues are more common in my work, one is social and protest issues and the other is architectural correction. In explaining the first category, I always think that artists are more vulnerable than others because of their moods, and that what happens to them affects them more than others, and therefore they are more protesting than other people. Protesters who are less likely to express their protest. These stronger eyes and milder reactions have always been in favor of being less seen.
I believe that my work emphasizes two aspects that are often overlooked: the demands of people, particularly the weaker classes such as minorities, and laws that restrict citizens in any way. As an architect and educator, I emphasize to my students that architecture is more than just a combination of forms; it is also about light, space, color, and other elements that, when combined, create a feeling. As an example, in my brick collection, clay is the basic unit with which architects create architecture. However, this single unit can be used to manipulate light, color, and form, which are all tools that can be used to create something meaningful.
Architecture is not just limited to buildings and structures. It can also be found in the form of wearable sculptures. This is why I believe that architecture can be worn. This does not mean shrinking an architectural building, but rather creating architecture from the start with the medium of wearable sculptures. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for architects and designers alike.
Your wearable sculpture, Thirty-Three Bridges, was reminiscent of my favorite piece of art. Can you tell me about your inspirations and how you came to create this type of work?
My artistic inspiration for the collection and exhibition called Tehran is derived from my feeling of Shapur Bazaar in Tehran. Many years ago, I had the opportunity to map the bazaar with a team, and this experience allowed me to become very familiar with the architectural atmosphere of Shapur Bazaar. This inspired me to dedicate the series of my works to my friends. My visit to Shapur Bazaar was quite sensual, as I noticed the lost colors and puzzles of Tehran that many people may not pay attention to. We often see Milad Tower and Azadi Square, but Shapur Bazaar is not as well known. I wanted to use drawings and colors to bring the name of the bazaar to the people of Tehran. Another work in the same exhibition was a series of misplaced boxes that showed the chaos of Tehran. In a way, this chaos has become a part of Tehran’s identity.
Which of your three professors has had the most influence on you? And in their absence, would you not have come to this university or any of them would not have had an impact on your thinking?
No, in fact, I had two main masters, Mr. Rezaei and Mr. Tanavoli, both of whom have had a profound effect on my mindset, not just on the sculptures, but on my lifestyle, although Mr. Rezaei is no longer alive, but what I am, What I have learned is not just sculpture, it has been a way of life. How to live, how to continue or how to determine the path and pursue the goal
But the third thing that really impressed me, whether in sculpture, in the way I look at my work, whether in sculpture or in jewelry, was continuing my education in Frankfurt, where I realized that everything had to have a purpose. A work of art whose beauty is also our goal must do something beyond beauty. Just like humans. A beautiful human being who does not take a step for human society is undesirable in my opinion. Beauty may be necessary, although not always, but it is not enough.
Did the the architecture of the German city influence your sculpture? Did paying attention to German architecture help inspire your work?
If I am being completely honest, the German urban atmosphere did not have a significant effect on my work of art. Instead, I have primarily focused on Iranian art and architecture. While I may have seen and learned something from the German culture, or it may have had an unconscious effect on me, I mostly looked to Iranian art for inspiration.
What do you think about continuing on the same path? For example, although Tanavoli is mostly known for his “nothing” sculptures, he was known for his walls and locks for a time. In fact, it’s hard to say now that one element belongs to Mr. Tanavoli, although his “nothing” sculptures are more famous than the others, but Mr. Tanavoli can’t be compared to his “nothing” works.
What really happens in life cannot be predicted, as our paths are always evolving. Any event can cause us to deviate from our path, and anything can happen to change our direction. Architecture has given me a religious feeling, as I have worked in this field for many years. I strive to look at architecture differently, and I always try to have something behind my work, no matter what that may be.
Do you see other sculptors of your generation? Which of their works do you find interesting or pay attention to?
There are many interesting people who work in this field and who are concerned with it. It is difficult to name any one person in particular, as many of them are close friends or good colleagues of mine. All of them have produced valuable artworks in their work, so it is hard to choose just one. Even if I try to name someone, I may end up forgetting someone else who is just as deserving of recognition.
What do you think the future of Iranian sculpture will be? How effective do you think the sculptors of today and the next generation of Iranian artists will be in Iran and internationally?
Being an artist in Iran is really difficult, and if you don’t have financial and material support, it will be difficult for you to continue this artistic path. Even if they don’t do advanced art, Iranians are still praiseworthy, but I see how strong and rich my generation is, even without any patronage or support. And they’ve drastically changed people’s perceptions; I think this increase in the number of galleries people visit, shows the change in people’s perceptions of their impact. This means that people’s point of view towards art has grown, and my generation has also played a great role in this change.
You held exhibitions during your studies in Germany, what year were these exhibitions held? What are the differences between the exhibitions you had there and the Iranian exhibitions? How did they look at Iranian artists and Iranian art? Which of your works was most welcomed?
We held two exhibitions about 7 years ago. The work I did in Germany was completely conceptual and not decorative, and it was very appealing to me at the time that my audience would buy my conceptual work, because it would be very difficult in Iran and the artist would not expect to be able to sell his conceptual work. However, this rarely happens in Iran.I had only two conceptual works at the Tehran exhibition, and unfortunately the same two works were not sold. Although sales were not very important to me, I mentioned this point because of the difference between the audience in Iran and Germany.
In Iran, it is less common for the average audience to buy conceptual artwork. Usually, companies, collectors, or institutions purchase such works. However, what satisfied me in Germany was that among the audience of works of art there were also ordinary buyers. Despite the fact that people in Iran may admire these works and smile, they do not buy them, and it cannot be concluded that the success of a work of art should be measured by its sales. The economy in Iran is such that buying works of art is not a necessity and cannot be expected, as there are more basic needs than buying works of art. Nevertheless, there are recent campaigns such as not buying flowers and sweets for artists, and instead buying from them, even as a group, as it is much more efficient use of money.
How do you connect with your audience? How important is the audience’s look to you? Do you make your works clear and understandable to the visitors?
If I said that it does not matter what people think about my work, I would not be telling the truth. I appreciate when my audience is engaged and has a dialogue about my work. If I see enthusiasm in the audience or when they ask me questions, I try to explain the work. However, I am not very inclined to explain the work because I believe that the work should be able to speak for itself, or that the audience should be able to understand it without the artist having to explain it. If the artist was supposed to explain the work, or tell the audience what it means, then there would be no need to create art.
Are you exhibiting an upcoming event?
I have an exhibition in mind and I am currently working on it. It will be a combination of sculpture and wearable sculpture, with two themes: wearables and sculpture. I find the charm of wearable sculptures to be that they can be taken out and about in the city, to parties, and on trips. This exhibition will be a unique opportunity to showcase these pieces in a way that has never been done before.
Isn’t it interesting that art can live on you, not in the walls of galleries? Wearable sculptures are very social. They socialize and they compensate for the fact that I don’t.
What factors do you consider when setting the price of your artwork? Is the price you set based on the materials used?
If we talk about wearable sculptures, yes, I once had a formula that was very engineered, which calculated the price of a work based on the amount of time and energy put into it. However, I later realized that this approach would stifle any spiritual feelings that may occur while working, so I decided to divide my works into two or three different categories, with established prices for each. I no longer care much about the price of each work, and I find it tedious to explain the prices to gallery owners. By placing my works into two categories, I have been able to simplify the process and still make a profit.
When it comes to wearable sculptures, I do not take price into consideration. I am not concerned with how much silver or bronze is used in the piece, nor do I weigh it to determine its value. To me, the price of the sculpture no longer matters; I would rather my work be seen and appreciated than to be sold at a super high price.
What do you see yourself doing in the world of art and how do you want Siavash Jaraiedi to be seen?
I am a talkative person who does not have the patience to speak, so I turn to art as an outlet for my creative expression. I admire artists whose professionalism is evident in their work, and I believe that art should have a purpose beyond just being aesthetically pleasing. Humor and caricature are easier to interpret, while silent art such as painting and sculpture can be more difficult to understand. It is also more difficult for the artist to express themselves without words or music. Ultimately, I strive to create art that has a positive impact on society.
What do you think of exhibiting your work online as a way to increase sales or to reach a wider audience?
No one can deny the impact of the virtual world and the Internet on our lives today. It is almost impossible for people to pull themselves out of this world, as not having an email address is almost equivalent to not existing. Social networks have become a part of our daily lives, and being in an online gallery is no exception. Every human being, whether an artist, doctor, or anyone else, is doomed to not be seen if they are not present in these virtual spaces. I always tell my artist friends this, because without being present in the virtual world, their absence will make those who have nothing to say more bold. Nowadays, we all see strange people who have 50 thousand and 100 thousand followers, and this is a result of the power of the virtual world. The worrying thing is that these people can harm our society. Our absence in cyberspace is not humility or a struggle, but rather a kind of harm and betrayal. Instagram users, who are discussed in our gatherings and privacy these days, have filled the places of people like Shamlou, Nima, and Sepehri of today. This is a cause for concern, as their presence in our society can have a negative impact. We must be aware of this and take steps to ensure that these people do not become a detriment to our society.
How has Arthibition affected your work?
I am pleased that my artworks have been sold by Arthibition, but I do not expect any more from them. The fact that the works have been sold is enough for me, as it indicates that the works have been seen and appreciated. I believe this is the best criterion for the sale of my artworks.
Thank you so much for your helpful comments to Arthibition and its audience. Your input is invaluable to us and we appreciate your willingness to collaborate with us. We hope that our partnership will continue to grow and become even stronger in the future. Your support is greatly appreciated and we look forward to continuing our work together.
Saturday 24 June 2017