THE HOUSE IS BLACK
ROSE ISSA PROJECTS
14 OCTOBER - 14 NOVEMBER 2013
82 Great Portland Street
For his debut exhibition in the UK, Behruz Heshmat has created a unique series of large and small format 'treehouse' sculptures: startling metal branches that support a variety of decorated or filled models of houses. Rich in metaphor, some of the treehouses evoke Jesus on the cross or torture (nails emerge from the walls, as if in pain), others Adam and Eve (the room heaves with bananas and apples); some reference philosophy (a globe about to burst through the roof), others reference pioneering artists such as Brancusi (a house enclosing a polished egg).
As an Iranian who moved to Austria in the 1970s, Heshmat’s treehouses are an exiled artist’s imaginative interpretation of home. To Heshmat, the house is central to human existence, and his treehouses emphasise the instability and frailty of our notions of home. His treehouses mutate; their materials, colours and contents continually change and convey a great sense of energy.
His work is characterised by a playful handling of form and material, and has a wonderful, childlike quality. He is also a poet, writing verses with few words and layers of meaning. While his work may convey a sense of loss, solitude, and moments of darkness, the artist is also funny, full of laughter, jokes, and bizarre ideas. The treehouses also convey a sense of balance, for the laws of gravity determine the load and position of the house. They also have a Bauhaus quality, leaving an immediate impression that craft and industry are integral to Heshmat’s artwork. No wonder that architects are his main collectors.
Born in Tabriz in 1953, Behruz Heshmat worked as autodidact sculptor in Tabriz and Teheran (1970-1975). He held exhibitionsin Tabriz and Tehran before moving to Austria to formally pursue sculpture at the Academy of Applied Arts of Vienna (1976-1982) and enroll in masterclasses with Wander Bertoni, an Austrian sculptor of public art. Since then he has received many awards and commissions for public art installations, mostly in Austria and Germany.