Directed by Bahman Kiarostami • 2004 • Iran
Persian Garden, gives a behind-the-scenes look at the largest and most ambitious art exhibition in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Curator Faryar Javaherian invited over thirty renowned Iranian artists to respond to a theme that is paramount to Iranian history and culture: the Persian garden. Ancient Wisdom, New Vision, which opened at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in September 2004, attracted record crowds. The exhibition included painting, architecture, photography, video art, installations, conceptual art, music, performance, and environmental art.
Director Bahman Kiarostami followed the artists—among them his father, Abbas Kiarostami, as well as Parviz Tanavoli, Farideh Lashai, Farshid Mesghali, and Dariush Mehrjui—from the inception of their artwork to its delivery to the museum. The film includes footage of artists at work and presents interviews in which they speak candidly about their creative process and talk about what the Persian Garden represents to them, about the role that these gardens have played in their lives. Many of their works challenged traditional notions of the Persian Garden, which sparked a lively dialogue in the press and in the international artistic community.