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Reza Derakshani

b. 1952 Iranian

In his large-scale paintings, renowned Iranian artist Reza Derakshani draws from the decorative style of traditional Persian art. Brought up in a nomadic family in the Iranian mountains, Derakshani explores the natural world in his work, as well as emotional states and themes of exile and alienation. He builds up the luminous, textured surfaces of his paintings with a base of roof tar, after which he applies layers of color and other materials such as gold, silver, enamel, and sand. Derakshani is also a musician, and the influences of music and poetry can be seen in the rhythmic harmonies that play out across his canvases, qualities that have prompted comparisons with the paintings of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.

Biography

Reza Derakshani (born 1952) is a multi-talented painter, poet, musician and performance artist. Derakshani was born in Sangsar, a small village in the North East of Iran, close to the ancient Khorasan. His nomadic childhood, growing up at the top of a mountain in a black tent among horses and fields of blue and yellow wild flowers, had a significant impact on his artistic perception of natural beauty.
A child prodigy, Reza Derakshani received his first commission at the age of nine and held his first solo exhibition at the age of 19 at the renowned Ghandriz Art Gallery in Tehran, going on to exhibit internationally. Derakshani graduated from the University of Tehran in 1976. He continued his studies at the Pasadena School of Art in California, and returned to Iran to teach at the University of Tehran and the School of Decorative Arts. He left Iran in 1983 following the Islamic Revolution and finally found home in the city of New York in 1985 and lived there for sixteen years.
The artist became engrossed in Abstract Expressionism while living in New York and was soon associated with the revival of painting in the USA and Europe in the 1980s through the Neo-Expressionist style. Whilst being loosely affiliated to the movement and evolving in New York artistic circles with fellow artists and friends Francesco Clemente, Shirin Neshat, Alessandro and Cy Twombly, the experience of emigration led Derakshani to reconnect with his Iranian roots. After experimenting with pure abstraction, the artist devised his personal artistic style blending abstract and figurative elements from both Western and Eastern cultures, thereby creating an idiosyncratic oeuvre at the confluence of civilizations.
The artist subsequently moved to Italy, before returning again to Iran for seven years. He now divides his time between Dubai, UAE and Austin, USA, where in parallel to his career within visual arts, he collaborated with legendary musicians such as John Densmore, the drummer of the Doors, releasing a critically acclaimed album.
Reza Derakshani is known both in the Middle East and in the West as one of the most significant contemporary Iranian artists. His work features in many public art collections including The British Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; The Russian Museum in St Petersburg, Russia and the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany. In addition, the artist has been the subject of two solo exhibitions in 2016 at The State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, Russia and at the Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Germany. Derakshani also performed as a musician in numerous museums and festivals such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Montreux Jazz Festival among others. He currently lives and works in Austin, USA.

Exhibitions
    1971Solo show, Ghandriz Art Gallery, Tehran
    1974Solo show, Seyhoun Gallery, Tehran
    1976Group museum show, Tehran University Gallery, Tehran
    1976Group show, Mehr Gallery, Tehran
    1977Group show, Thumb Gallery, London
    1977Solo show, Iran Gallery, Tehran
    1979Group show, Lorry Dunn’s Gallery, Long Beach
    1992Solo show, Nour Foundation Gallery, New York
    1993Solo show, Lawson Gallery, Seattle
    1994Solo show, Galleria il Punto di Svolta, Rome
    1994Solo show, Tarrahan Azad Gallery, Tehran
    1994Museum show, Anzio City Hall, Anzio
    1995Solo show, Montclair State University, Montclair
    2002Solo show, "Retrospective", Iranian Artists Forum, Tehran
    2003Solo show, Caterina Pazzi Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome
    2003Solo show, Niavaran Palace Cultural Centre, Tehran
    2003Solo show, "Small Works on Paper", Tarahan Azad Gallery, Tehran
    2003Group show, Assie Mennegini Gallery, Rome
    2004Group eainting show, Mah Art Gallery, 26 November-15 December, Tehran
    2004Group show, "Gardens of Iran: Ancient Wisdom – New Vision", Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran
    2005Group painting show, Mah Art Gallery, Tehran
    2005Solo show, Assar Art Gallery, Tehran
    2007Solo show, "Nocturne", From Khosrow & Shirin series, Mah Art Gallery, Tehran
    2007Solo show, XVA Gallery, Dubai
    2007Solo show, Seyhoun Gallery, Los Angeles
    2008Solo show, Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2008Solo show, "Beyond the Darkness", Khak Art Gallery, Tehran
    2008Group show, Khak Art Gallery, Tehran
    2008Group show, "Just Paper", Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2008Group show, "Hope", Focus Art Gallery, Dubai
    2008Group museum show, "The Colour of Love", Niavaran Cultural Centre, Tehran
    2009Group show ,"Identity Crisis Series"، Chelsea Art Museum
    2009Group painting show, Mah Art Gallery, 16 October-28 October, Tehran
    2009Group show, "L'Iran sans frontière (English: Iran without Borders), Galerie Almine Rech, Paris
    2009Group show, "Guns and Roses", Eleven Howland Ltd, London
    2009Group show, "Selseleh/Zelzeleh: Movers & Shakers in Contemporary Iranian Art", Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2009Group show, "Routes II", Waterhouse and Dodd, London
    2009Group show, From "Khosrow and Shireen" series, Dar Al Funoon Gallery, Kuwait City
    2009Group show, "1001 Colors: Contemporary Art from Iran", Canvas Art, New York
    2009Group show, "Three Artists", Basement, Dubai
    2009Group museum show, "Iran Inside Out", Chelsea Art Museum, New York
    2009Solo show, "Circus of Life", AB Gallery, Lucerne
    2009Solo painting show, Galerie Nikki Diana Marquardt, Paris
    2009Solo show, "Migration", Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2009Solo show, "Eternal Rebirth", Dar Al-Funoon Gallery, Kuwait City
    2010Solo show, Dar Al Funoon Gallery, Kuwait City
    2010Solo show, "Voice and Circus", AB Gallery, Zurich
    2010Solo show, "Recent Works", Cramer Contemporary, Geneva
    2010Solo show, Osborne Samuel Gallery, London
    2010Group show, Opera Gallery, Muscat
    2010Group show, "Mona Lisa 10 x 10", Gallery 10, Tehran
    2010Group show, "Peace!", Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2010Group show, "Made in Iran", Opera Gallery, Dubai
    2010Summer group show, Mah Art Gallery, Tehran
    2010Group show, "Tehran-New York", Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2010Group show, "Hope!", Palais des Arts et Festivals, Ville de Dinard
    2010Group show, "East Meets West on the East End", Leila Heller Gallery, New York
    2011Group museum show, "Show Off!", The Salsali Private Museum, Dubai
    2011Group painting show, Mah Art Gallery, Tehran
    2011Solo show, Galerie Janine Rubeiz, Beirut
    2011Solo show, "Circus of Life", Dar Al Funoon Gallery and JAMM Art, Kuwait City
    2012Solo show, "Everyday & Every Night", Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich
    2012Solo show, "Silence of the Night, Black Sand Paintings", Leila Heller Gallery, NYC, USA
    2012Group show, "Letters in Motion", Dar Al Funoon Gallery, Kuwait City
    2012Group show, "The Rule and its Exception", Debora Colton Gallery, Houston
    2012Group show, "Cross-Current", Coburn Gallery, Colorado College
    2013Group show, "Heavenly Paradise", AB Gallery, Vienna
    2013Group show, "Art of Iran", Opera Gallery, Dubai
    2013Solo show, "My Wicked Persian Carpet", Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York
    2013Group museum show, "Retrospective", The Salsali Private Museum, Dubai
    2013Solo show, "The Pink House Stories", Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, London and Zurich
    2013Group show, "Art of Iran", Opera Gallery , London
    2013Solo show, "Recent Works", Opera Gallery , London
    2014Group show, "Abstract Experiences: Beyond the Real", Opera Gallery , London
    2014Group show, "The Greater Middle East Unveiled", Opera Gallery , London
    2014Group show, "20th Anniversary", Opera Gallery , London
    2014Solo show, "Morning Calm through the Persian Light", Opera Gallery, Seoul
    2014Summer group show by 54 artists, Mah Gallery, Tehran
    2014Solo show, "Morning Calm Through The Persian Light", Opera Gallery , London
    2015Summer group show by 53 Artists, Mah Gallery, Tehran
    2015Group museum show, "Shattered Mirror, Shattered Music", Metropolitan Museum, New York
    2016Group show, "Voyage a Travers l'Iran", Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat
    2016Solo show, "The Breeze at Dawn", Sophia Contemporary, London
    2016Solo museum show, "Retrospective", The Russian Museum, St Petersburg
    2016Solo museum show, Chemnitz Art Collections
    2016Group show, "Arabesque", Opera Gallery , London
    2017Solo show, "Black Water", Setareh Gallery, Düsseldorf
    2017Solo show, "Birth of a Collection 1", 28 Fine Arts, Dubai
    2018Group show, "Free Sale", Tarahane Azad Gallery, Tehran
    2018Group show, "The Moments", Galerie Nicolas Flamel, Paris
    2018Group show, "In The Light of Spring", Podgorny Robinson Gallery, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France
    2019Group show, "10 - 20 - 30", Azad Art Gallery, Tehran
    2019Group show, "Collector 3", Artibition, Tehran
    2019Solo show, "Empty House Party", Setareh Gallery, Dusseldorf
    2019Solo show, "Emanations", Leila Heller Dubai, Dubai
    2020Group show, "The Atlas of my Dreams", Galerie Nicolas Flamel, Paris
    2020Solo show, "Postponed", Opera Gallery , London
    2020Group show, "Resilience", Shirin Gallery, Tehran