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Abbas Kiarostami
andre sider af virkeligheden
2 march 2024 - 11 may 2024

"I wish I had been born with rectangular bars surrounding my pupils so that I had the habit of looking at everything through this sacred frame."
Abbas Kiarostami


Abbas Kiarostami was the kind of artist who is called an „artist's artist“. Jean-Luc Godard and Martin Scorsese reckon Kiarostami among the seminal masters of their profession. Christian Boltanski admires the suggestive openness of Kiarostami's image creation in cinema, photography and video, and photographers find a standard for their own work in his series of nature observations.


Abbas Kiarostami was a graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran and initially a painter and graphic artist before turning to cinema in 1970. His cinematic as well as his photographic language are based on compositional principles derived from artistic "image-making“ His film scenes and photographs are made precisely, and they are based on construction lines oriented on the center of the picture, on the horizon and on a frame that is always kept in mind. While Kiarostamis landscape photographs were sometimes made in search of appropriate film locations, his films are characterized by a photographic view. The photographs of the series Rain and Wind shown at umbrella are reminiscent of stills from a road movie.

Kiarostami's still and moving pictures are linked by the author's strong and equal interest in the wideness of landscapes and the closeness to his film characters. His works draw a special force from these poles. Against the background of the political situation in his home country, Abbas Kiarostami was one of those who sustained the memory of Persia's tradition of culture, science and humanity and had to pay the price of their absence. 

This can hardly noticed in his art: It creates images that emanate a serene calm and seem to have nothing to do with the agitated present of his country. Andre sider af virkeligheden.

After his works were last shown in a major retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2021, Kiarostami's photographs from the series White Snow and Rain and Wind combined with some of his subtle poems can now be seen for the first time in a solo exhibition in Denmark. We are happy to be able to show the work of this extraordinary artist at umbrella and want to thank the lenders and Stiftung Situation Kunst in Bochum for their trust and excellent cooperation.


Highlight of the exhibition is the 32-minute documentary film Roads of Kiarostami, which was made in 2005.

Roads of Kiarostami can be seen as a companion piece to his black and white landscape photographs and also as an extension of them. Static shots of his photos alternate with footage of Kiarostami's car winding through mountain roads, as the Iranian filmmaker muses in voice-over on the significance of the journey and on the path of his work and Persian literature as a whole.



Abbas Kiarostami (Persian عباس كيارستمى; * June 22, 1940 in Tehran; † July 4, 2016 in Paris) was an Iranian film director, photographer and poet. He was not only a prominent hallmark of Iranian cinema, but one of the most important filmmakers in the world.
An active filmmaker since 1970, Kiarostami has been involved in over forty films, including shorts and documentaries, and attained critical acclaim for directing the Koker Trilogy, A Taste of Cherry and The Wind Will Carry Us.
The artist became a key figure in the development of cinema in his country leading up to the revolution of 1979. Despite the Iranian revolution and its hardline Islamic reforms, Kiarostami stayed in the country and continued to direct short features. By the 1990s, he had gained acclaim from a number of foreign directors, including Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. The artist went on to receive the Federico Fellini Gold Medal in 1997, the Akira Kurosawa Award in 2000, and the Fellowship of the British Film Institute in 2005. Kiarostami is also a noted photographer and poet. Museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris (2021), the Bejing Art Museum of the Imperial City (2008) or the Museum of Modern Art in New York (2007) have been presenting his photographs. In 2004 Abbas Kiarostami became the first Islamic recipient of the Praemium Imperiale, awarded by the Japan Art Association.

The exhibition is supported by Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond and by Ny Carlsbergfondet.


Abbas Kiarostami, Rain and Wind, 2007, 47 x 70 cm, digital print, Private collection, Courtesy Stiftung Situation Kunst Bochum

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