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Farhad Ostovani was born in 1950 in Lahidjan, a small town in northern Iran on the shores of the Caspian Sea. He grew up in Tehran and went on to study at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, graduating at the age of 22. After several years travelling to Rome, Egypt and the United States, he settled permanently in France. His parents remained in Iran, fleeing the Islamic Revolution of 1979 to settle in California.

By insisting on what is no longer, by constantly repeating the same themes and motifs: the Alioff garden of his childhood with its magnolia, cypress, rose and lemon trees, the mountains, the horizon, Farhad Ostovani imbues his works with this family uprooting, forming a meditation on identity, time and space, in a long-term mechanism of mourning. Building up the images slowly, over time, deleting or adding, he never ceases to explore the elements that resonate with his past, evoking them through visuals nourished by more recent experiences, as if everything before his eyes echoes his youth, reminding him of it.

1994 was a particularly significant year in his career as an artist, when he met the poet Yves Bonnefoy and the director of the Musée Jenisch Vevey, Bernard Blatter, whose loyal friendship led to numerous exhibitions and publications.

Farhad Ostovani’s work – which spans almost fifty years and takes the form of paintings, drawings, lithographs, woodcuts, linocuts and photographs – can be seen not just as the witness of a nostalgic memory, but as the stanzas of a single long poem, a meditation on time, art, melancholy, uprooting and love. As the Persian poet Rumi wrote: “Listen to the reed flute lament and talk of separation. Ever since I was cut off from the reedbed, through my cries men and women have lamented (…) Whoever remains far from his source longs for the moment when he will be united with it again.

Exhibitions at the gallery




Derrière l’horizon, Exhibition catalogue, 2022