Exchange with Curator Sveva Manfredi Zavaglia - Rome Central

Sveva Manfredi Zavaglia , Roma Central , December 2, 2020

Today art is often reworked and revisited…what do you think? Who are you inspired by? what is the essential tool for understanding your contemporary world ?


New York artist Carroll Dunham once said something like : true art is art well stolen. Picasso would agree. Cubism ripped off African tribal art for one thing. We should reflect on the fact that coincidences create great changes and errors are central. Bacon adds that any good artwork is built on layers of successful errors.In the last seven years I have learnt much by observing the multilayered approach of Gerhard Richter, starting from his Beirut photographic paintovers up to his monumental Cage abstract panels. Alongside Richter I devote much love to American artist Cy Twombly. I consider him being the true post-impressionist/post-expressionist painter of our time, evolving within a fabulous Tuscan lifestyle whilst developing a fruitful artist-galerist relationship with Armenian-American art dealer Larry Gagosian – which is a rare thing. He went to paint explosive monumental panels inspired by the natural world right up to his last days.

Of my contemporaries I have been attracted to the prismatic, intellectualised approach of Colombian artist Oscar Murillo. But also to New York artist Bob Bradley’s sequenced series of art + music, to Sterling Ruby’s grandiose use of textiles seamlessly spilling his touch onto the fashion industry. In love with Corean artist Kimsooja’s nomadic borderless installations and Ghanaian Sculptor El Anatsui’s tapestry like tribal cloth installations. Also truly essential, the thought of sadly recently passed Moroccan master Mohamed Melehi, symbol of the 1960’s Afroberber Casablanca school movement that strived to integrate tribal crafts into contemporary art practice. In that precise matter, I reconnect to the idea of vattan – homeland in Persian – and to my own tribu. I grew under the shining presence of my grand-aunt Monir Shahroudy Farman-Farmaian, the most prominent Iranian artist of the contemporary period that achieved an artistic practice that wed the geometric patterns and cut-glass mosaic techniques of our Iranian heritage with the rhythms of modern Western geometric abstraction – linking tradition and crafts to the best contemporary art has to offer. I believe that to process the future we must work to strengthen the invisible traces of memory.