06 February, 2011 - 06 February, 2011

Felt Made Costumes

Bita Ghezelayagh

Bita Ghezelayagh’s exhibition features a collection of felt costumes, made for display only, which combine talismanic symbols, silk screen printing and embroidery.

Previously an architect and art director of several Iranian films, Ghezelayagh started working with felt in 2004. Her works embody qualities such as simplicity, heft and resilience, which she notices are often disregarded in Iran’s march to modernity.

&ldquo Making my first designs, and travelling around Iran searching for the best techniques, I came across a display of felt shepherds’ capes in a provincial bazaar. They hung inertly, heavily, a reminder of earthy tradition amid the gaudy consumer goods, and were a poignant validation of Joseph Beuys’ elevation of felt into art.”

Ghezelayagh began designing her own display tunics and capes as felt canvasses on which to express her memories of growing up in Iran. She was born in Italy in 1966, and brought up in Tehran where she lived through the revolution of 1979 and the war

Like the well-known Iranian artists from the Saqqaqaneh movement of Iranian Pop Art in the 1950s, such as Hossein Zenderoudi and Parviz Tanavoli, Bita Ghezelayagh has sought a new visual language that embraces tradition and modernity through a unique combination of ancient signs, symbols and calligraphy with conceptual art.

Her works are in major collections including the British Museum.