Home Magazine MeetMe#20 | In conversation with Hormoz Hematian

During the Parisian Art Week, we updated all of you about the main news of FIAC 2019; brought inside the most important collateral art fairs (P/CSA - Art Élysées); and also walked all around the city of Paris, in order to discover the best shows of this year. Now it's time to share the last conversation between Rossella Farionatti and Dastan Gallery's director Hormoz Hematian.

Here an incredible opportunity to better understand what lies at the basis of a successful gallery working born in Tehran!

Dastan’s Basement was born few years ago, in 2012. For a gallery path seven years could still represent a young reality. But this is not your case: you are the director of a vivid gallery that deals both with established artists than with emergent ones. So, do you consider your gallery project still young?

Absolutely. We are constantly working on new projects with both emerging and established artists in different spaces. We see great potential and diverse opportunities for showcasing Iranian art in local and international venues. Dastan features an extensive and multi-dimensional program which focuses on the full spectrum of Iranian contemporary and modern art. Different parts of Dastan’s program play their role in catering to different audiences. I believe such a dynamic approach could lead to the program always remaining young and fresh. 

At the beginning, Dastan’s Basement was a creative incubator of arts. You did various exhibitions and events regarding young and fresh artists. And you still do that, especially thanks to the new venues that you opened during the years - Dastan+2, which is the “classic” gallery, and Dastan:Outside, the Electric Room, for emergent talents and brave projects -. When did you start to work with modern artist from Iran? 

“Dastan: Outside” was labeled “Dastan Outside the Basement” during the years when the Basement was our only venue. That program was developed to stretch further than what the Basement could offer. After almost three years, Dastan+2 was opened in 2015 within walking distance of the Basement. Dastan+2 has been defined as a space that features shows by established Iranian artists, twentieth-century masters, and large-scale projects by the younger generation of artists. “Dastan: Outside” has ventured into a number of less conventional and more experimental exhibitions. 

How was, at the beginning, the response to Iranian artists in the International art fairs? From 2012 until today did you see some changes, especially with the political scene Iran is going through right now?

We have been very fortunate to have received much positive feedback in our participations at leading international art fairs such as Fiac, Art Basel HK, and Frieze NYC. It has been fascinating to show Iranian art to viewers who have less frequently encountered works coming from our country. While politics sometimes causes conversations to shift away from the art, we always try to focus on what we have brought for the audience to see and experience.


Dastan Gallery during Fiac 2019.


How is the balance to work both with established artists such as Farah Ossouli, or Fereydoun Ave, for example, at the same time with emergent ones as the painter Nariman Farrokhi? 

Each artist has their own backgrounds and experiences, and a platform that combines such valuable resources could have a lot of potential. For instance, we learn from the experiences of our established artists such as Fereydoun Ave, to cater for some of the needs of our more emerging artists. Meanwhile, the energy of the younger generation creates a dynamic environment where new experiments are possible.

Is Tehran art system vivid thanks to realities like yours, and artists who keep on working on their history, politics and means?

The role of the artist is the most fundamental and essential part of keeping a vibrant art scene. Secondly, it is the audience that contributes to the vitality of the scene. We try our best to facilitate the presentation of art to a wide audience.

What recommendations would you now give to an emergent gallery?

My main recommendation is for them to do what they want, i.e. create a program based around what they actually like and care about, but it is of utmost importance to document and keep a good archive of everything. 

Cover image: Dastan Gallery during Fiac 2019.


Stay Tuned to Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

Please rate this article
Thank you for your vote!