Home Magazine Unraveling the Silent Tapestry of Calligraphic Artistry with Zende

In the realm of artistic expression, Mahmoud Zendehroudi, widely known as Zende, transcends conventional boundaries by painting with calligraphy, delving into the unexplored dimension of its pictorial form. Liberating himself from the constraints of text and the conventional meaning of words, Zende's art unfolds as a unique, sculptural language—utterly mute yet profoundly expressive. Read the full article to explore the life and artistry of Zende, tracing his journey from the modest streets of Tehran to the international art scene.

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Born in Iran in 1943, and as the fourth child among eight siblings, Zende's artistic journey was significantly influenced by his mother's sensibility. Her passion for art not only shaped Zende's path but also left an indelible mark on his brothers and sisters.

Despite his initial foray into journalism after college, Zende never abandoned his early passion for painting. His career in journalism, beginning as a radio chronicler and later transitioning to television, ran parallel to his artistic pursuits. In 1962, Zende showcased his work at the 2nd Biennial Event in Tehran, offering a glimpse into the artistic spirit that would define his future.


Zende. Perspective, 2022. Courtesy of Eran Gallery

Zende's artistic evolution took a significant turn in 1978 when he chose exile, settling in the south of France. This pivotal moment marked the commencement of his full-time dedication to painting. Straying from conventional Iranian artistic movements, Zende discovered a novel approach by incorporating raised designs and embracing 'collage' as a defining technique.

Through an extremely personal and unconventional palette, Zende's work defies categorization, showcasing a diverse range of materials and techniques. His mastery extends to the utilization of collage and sculpting wood pulp, creating a multi-dimensional experience for the observer. His paintings become more than mere visuals; they transform into tactile, sculptural entities that invite viewers into an intricate dance between form and substance.

Zende. Spring, 2020. Courtesy of Eran Gallery

Zende's artistic odyssey has taken him around the globe, with private exhibitions hosted in prominent locations such as Hong Kong, the USA, and Europe. Patrons of the arts worldwide have been captivated by Zende's work, acquiring his paintings to form private collections in Cyprus, Canada, France, Iran, Germany, Switzerland, the USA, and Dubai.

The artist’s impact extends beyond traditional art spaces, finding a place in limited editions of beautifully illustrated books published by "Fata Morgana" and "La bibliothèque du Lion." His contribution to these collections adds a literary dimension to his visual storytelling, creating a synergy between the written word and the silent narratives woven through his art.


Zende, Brightness, 2018. Courtesy of Eran Gallery

In the hands of Zende, calligraphy transforms from a utilitarian form of writing into an intricate dance of signs, shapes, and textures. His journey from Tehran to the global stage is a testament to the universal language of art. Zende's legacy continues to unfold, as a tapestry of silent eloquence that invites viewers to decipher the twists and turns of a language that transcends words. 

Cover Image: Zende. Opening, 2018. Courtesy of Eran Gallery


Written by: Kooness

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