When the Venice Biennale opened a year ago who would have foreseen the events to come in the subsequent twelve months. St Marks Square empty, a world in lockdown. And of course we in Britain still have Brexit to resolve. One day all these will be History and we will be back to some of our old favourites; one of which of course is Iran and the difficult relationship with America fraught on both sides with rhetoric and fake news.
The Spark is with You is the title of David Nurr’s 2019 contribution to the Venice exhibition (originally in the Parasol Unit in London) but also the whole exhibition where nine Iranian artists came together under the curatorial eye of Ziba Ardalan, to celebrate more than just Persian Poetry but its contribution to world culture.
In Ardalan’s words “The nine artists, all of whose vision looks beyond the ordinary, were selected for the affinity with openness, respect and human interconnectedness that is evinced in their work. Stemming directly from a long and magnificent tradition of Persian poetry, this philosophy of life is a fundamental element of the Iranian/Persian character. Dialogues open up across the exhibition, not only between the different generations of artists and the geographical regions from which they now draw inspiration, but also through a common desire to interact openly and respectfully with others. And, just as Goethe, two hundred years ago, through his poetry sought to bridge East and West, these artists sought also to communicate mutually across all borders.
If you have to chose between art and fake news to inform you there can only be one choice to make.