Iran's Kiarostami, Tanavoli exhibit in Dubai

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The Independent Culture

Art works of Iranian filmmaker and photographer Abbas Kiarostami as well as by sculptor Parviz Tanavoli have gone on display at a joint exhibition in Dubai.

Thirty pieces by Iran's most renowned sculptor Tanavoli, including Big Heech Lovers and Poet in Love, are being exhibited along with 13 photographs by Kiarostami at the show which opened on Monday night at Meem Gallery.

Kiarostami, winner of the Cannes festival's Palme d'Or for best film in 1997 for his "Taste of Cherry," is also a well known photographer whose work has been exhibited worldwide.

"When I took this photo, I had no idea I will become a photographer, let alone a professional one," Kiarostami told AFP, standing next to one of his first works.

The black-and-white print of vast open meadows with snow-capped mountains in the background that is part of a display of his "Snow, Rain and Road Series" was taken 35 years ago on the road leading to the Caspian Sea, he said.

"Some of my photographs were taken while looking for locations to shoot my films," he said explaining the link between his cinematic work and photographic output.

"Even during the shooting of films, I take a day or two off to do photography," he said. But "when I make movies, I am a filmmaker. When I take photos, I am a photographer."

Some of Kiarostami's poetry also features in the exhibition in the form of excerpts he complement the photographs.

"On a snowy morning, I run out, hatless and coatless, happy as a child," a poem from Kiarostami's "Snow White" featured next to a selection of photographs of leafless trees covered in white and endless snow-covered slopes.

Tavanoli's collection features several versions of the Farsi word "Heech", meaning nothingness that he started working on in the early 1960s.

Other items include his "Poet and the Cypress Tree" bronze sculpture, which has a list price of 500,000 dollars, according to gallery managing partner, Charles Pocock.

Pocock pointed out that prices of art works in the exhibition have been brought down in light of the global financial crisis.

"Prices have to reflect today's prices, not prices of two years ago... We have to be realistic. Prices go up and they go down," he said.

The highest price paid on the opening day for one of Kiarostami's exhibits was around 100,000 dollars, for a triptych of snowy slopes, according to organisers.

In 1999, Kiarostami won the Grand Special Jury Prize at the Venice international film festival for directing "The Wind Will Carry Us."