Dastan Gallery

  • GALLERY FOCUS: Dastan Gallery

  • Several questions for Hormoz Hematian

    Introduce yourself.
    My name is Hormoz Hematian. I was born on April 24th, 1984. I am an engineer by training, and I founded Dastan’s Basement in 2012.

    Which event has been the most crucial since you opened your gallery?
    The Basement always relied on advisors such as the writer and translator Ms. Goli Emami. In April 2014, Iranian artist, curator, designer and collector Fereydoun Ave announced that he would like Dastan’s Basement to represent him. That meant he would be there for us in every way in every capacity. We have done many projects with Mr. Ave including, “References, Clues, and Favorite Things”, exhibited once as a large exhibition in Tehran and once as a maximally designed booth at Art Dubai. Another project was a survey of works of the late Iranian architect, artist and cultural executive Mr. Bijan Saffari, which was shown both in Iran before the passing of the artist and literally days after his passing in New York. For FIAC this year, we are putting together a small presentation of one his most important projects to date, a retrospective of the landmark exhibition Mr. Ave put together for the celebrated Iranian drawing artist, Ardeshir Mohassess at Iran America Society in 1974. Since the beginning of the gallery we have published two major catalogues and produced a short film on the artist. Always taking advice on these from Fereydoun Ave as well as the Ardeshir Mohassess Trust, which manages the artist’s estate.

    How do you choose artists you represent?
    Dastan features an extensive and multi-dimensional program, in an effort to cover the full spectrum of Iranian contemporary and modern art. Originally, the gallery focused on a thematic approach based on the medium that the artists worked in, especially in the domain of works on paper. For example, we would put together 5 or 6 drawing exhibitions across generations of Iranian contemporary artists with different approaches. Ardeshir Mohassess and Fereydoun Ave originally fit into the program in the same manner. Dastan somehow kept this approach, but with the addition of Dastan+2, Dastan was able to add a painting program as well as including many more established artists to its roster.

    Why did you decide to open a gallery? Why Tehran?
    I was trained as a civil engineer with my bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland in transportation and my Master’s in construction management from the University of British Columbia. I was working as an analyst in Canada. At the time, I was inspired by a publication called Lapham’s Quarterly. Through that I discovered my need to get involved somehow with art and culture. When my family offered me a space start an engineering office in Tehran, I realized that the size of the space allowed for more than just an office. I tried to make an environment that allowed for experiencing art and cultural activity in the manner of Lapham’s. I was told that I needed a permit for that and that the least difficult one to obtain would be that of a gallery. That space is now Dastan’s Basement with no trace of the engineering office that once was.

    Continue the sentence “FIAC is…”
    …possibilities! It is a chance to exhibit among the world’s leading galleries in a historic setting. Paris has had a major role in the life of Ardeshir Mohasses as he spent many years in Paris and the city changed his practice. Fereydoun Ave who will be curating the exhibition also divides his time between Tehran and Paris.

    Can you recommend cool hidden places in Tehran?
    A twelve-million-person metropolis, Tehran is not a historic place. However, its proximity to Alborz mountains that are covered with snow for more than half the year make one feel that Tehran has been there forever. The stretch from Haft-e-Tir Roundabout to Neauphle-le-Château Street remains the absolute best place to wander around. A happy day for me starts at Linnette for a coffee and visiting TMoCA (Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art) and then off to the great galleries and institutions such as Pejman Foundation’s Argo Factory nearby to end up at Hassan Rashti restaurant for northern style kebabs.

    What is your favorite place for lunch near your gallery?
    Depending on the uptown or the downtown venues, I would go to Zaferanieh for a nice kebab or downtown to Reera Cafe or Giv Cafe where I can see my friends or feel the energy of my younger sisters and brothers running through my city’s veins.

    What are your favorite places in Paris?
    It is a dream to be in Paris. It is amazing to wander around the Marais to see shows at the galleries and the museums where one can literally run into anyone; maybe even having a run at the Tuileries Gardens and ending up at Musée d’Orsay.

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