Monday, March 14, 2011

The Surrealistic Book Paintings of Alireza Darvish

by Stephen J. Gertz

Born in Rasht, Iran in 1968, graphic designer, illustrator, and animator Alireza Darvish attended the Fine Arts Institute in Teheran, 1984-88, and thereafter became one of Iran's foremost illustrators. He returned to the Fine Arts Institute as a painting and drawing teacher but in 1995 emigrated to Germany where he lived until 2003. Moving to Barcelona in 2003, he lived there for three years, building his reputation as an illustrator for various literary journals in Spain. He moved to Prague in late 2005 but soon returned to Germany where he now lives and works.

 In the early 2000s, he undertook a series of paintings, now numbering over forty, with books as thematic and metaphoric points of departure. Both playful and serious, light and dark, pensive and provocative, these paintings draw us into the world of books and readers within the subconscious in the surreal world.

Books as bridges across the unknown; as building blocks of the Pyramids; readers as fish in a desert with books as the water of life, their only chance to maintain themselves and survive, one book to the next.

Don Quxiote, the Man of La Mancha tilting at windmills and defending against lost causes becomes,  in Darvish's imagination, the defender of the book defying anyone to knock down the citadels of volumes that have towered over all but now need his services. He has become El Caballero de Libros,  a scrawny King Kong on skyscraper with a fly-swatter keeping the evil forces at bay.

The book as a solitary life-raft adrift and apart from the clamor of modern life...

...and as a dangerous burden we must bear on a tightrope.

Finally, readers languorously floating and swimming in books in an otherwise arid world.

With thanks to Elmar Seibel of Ars Libri for leading me to Michele Roohani who led me to Alireza Darvish. All images courtesy of Alireza Darvish, with our thanks.

Part Two: Book Artist Alireza Darvish's Battle against Censorship.

Full gallery of Alireza Darvish's book paintings here.

1 comment:

  1. These are awesome, and what a great idea for a series. Maybe some libraries in the US need to contract with him for the art in their buildings!
    I'm going to put some of this in the file for my new building.


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