Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art presents the first major UK survey of Iran-born, American artist, Siah Armajani, who is internationally renowned for his extensive public art commissions, which include bridges, reading rooms and poetry gardens. This exhibition traces the artist’s early works on paper, made in Iran during the late 1950s, to his mature works, including his most recent structure, the Alfred Whitehead Reading Room, 2013, specifically created for the outdoor space at Parasol unit, London.
Armajani’s work is rooted in his own Persian cultural heritage, his knowledge of Western philosophy, literature and poetry, and his interest in American vernacular architecture. His early works are distinguished by a poetic use of Persian script, a manipulation of traditional techniques and a bold vision that employs various media to serve his artistic intent. The combination of text, idea and the peculiar use of space to be observed in these early works has continued into his later works, in many of which poetry or a philosophical statement is an important element.
Armajani’s post-art-school works are often astute architectural models, inspired by generic structures and conveying the idea of house or bridge. In Armajani’s structures the idea always has priority over function. His belief in democracy and open communication as essential requirements for a healthy society, along with his philosophical and political interests, eventually led him to create art in the public realm. His works are housed in some of the world’s most important museum collections.
Born 1939 in Tehran, Siah Armajani now lives and works in Minneapolis, MI, USA.
The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive book, published by Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art. A related programme of educational events and workshops, highlighting the Alfred Whitehead Reading Room, will include creative writing, poetry, lectures and, on 19 September 2013, an artist talk with Siah Armajani. Curated by Ziba Ardalan, Founder/ Director, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art.