Title: Tapesh, The Golden Reserve of Magmatic Thought
Commissioner and Curator: Majid Mollanoruzi
Location: Iran Pavilion in the Biennale Arte 2017, Venice [Italy]
Date: 13 May – 26 November 2017


BIENNALE ARTE 2017, VENICE - Iran Pavilion

«Tapesh is the heartbeat when emotion prevails over reason and generates a vision.» (Bizhan Bassiri)

In 2017, Bizhan Bassiri was invited by Majid Mollanoroozy, Commissioner and Curator of the Iranian Pavilion, to represent Iran at the 57th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, crossroads of the world for the arts of the last hundred years. The pavilion is housed in Palazzo Donà, in the heart of Venice.
Conceived as a vast polyphonic composition, but also as an emblematic collection of works created over the years, the exhibition Tapesh: The Golden Reserve of Magmatic Thought, presented at the Biennale, symbolizes in a single concept the outcome of an artistic action with diverse forms. The exhibition was preceded by several events, imagined as one continuous journey, which, in the space of eight months, led Bassiri to Venice.
The term “tapesh” of the title alludes to a heartbeat. In Venice, Bassiri installed a long platform with a “procession” of black herms, alternating with gilded “poles”. The entrenched herms and the radiant poles are mediated by pools of liquid mercury, whose red becomes magnetic through a process of “vulcanization”.
In combining his own work as a contemporary artist with that of artists of many other eras, whether belonging to the great Iranian, Asian or European tradition, Bassiri successfully merged ancient and classical mythologies with the problems of contemporary expression. He has also conceived and realized unique plastic inventions, giving them an aesthetic dimension through shapes that, while often simple, are imbued with strong poetic power.
Among these are Dadi della Sorte (The Dice of Fate) (1990-2015), which have a specific meaning, given the artist’s choice to mark each face with the number “6”. The dice, therefore, despite their inherently playful origin, become an image of challenging chance. In fact, Bassiri intends this work to demonstrate that the artist must roll the highest score and win the game with his own destiny.