News

Works in Other Countries
 

Nuclear energy

 

Nadalian: River Art

An interview by John K. GRANDE

Nadalian is an Iranian sculptor whose life's work involves engendering respect for living creatures and the natural environment. To achieve this, besides living with nature himself, he established sculpture grounds in a peaceful environment in natural surroundings. Water is a living element that contributes to his sculptures, and many of the symbols he engraves and sculpts are derived from ancient mythology and the rituals of pre-Islamic civilizations. more

 

Nadalian in Green Museum

By carving simple fish shapes and other forms onto small stones and river rocks, artist Ahmad Nadalian seeks to repopulate the spirit of neglected streams and rivers in his native Iran and around the world and share these treasures with future generations.  more

 

Utne Magazine May-June 2006  USA

Ahmad Nadalian
[Iran]

A human who loves stones and water, Ahmad Nadalian moves like a fish transgressing international borders.   More

 

About Ahmad Nadalian

By Professor  Robert C. Morgan
 

"I was so impressed with your concept, working at low tide in the early mornings to carve signs that during the day would be concealed.  It calls into question so much about time, history, language, meaning, and sculpture." More

 

About Ahmad Nadalian

By : Edward Lucie-Smith
 

In Iran, Ahmad Nadalian (b.1963) is in the process of creating an immense River Art installation along the banks and amidst the waters of the Haraz River, near Mount DamavendMore

 



Art Tomorrow

 

Works by Nadalian in USA

 

Hidden Treasures

Works in Other Countries

 

Works by Nadalian in Bangladesh

 

Works by Nadalian in Uzbekistan

 

Collaboration with Children

 

Works in Paris

 

Works In Arangeh

 

L'Eau Partagee: Work in South of France )

 

Hidden Treasures: An Art Exhibition for next Millenniums  Persian

 

L'Eau Partagee: Work in South of France )

Artists at Paradise International Center

 

Travel to France : Exhibition & Works by Nadalian in Ramatuelle- Golfe de Saint Tropez in France  (From Escalet to Pampelonne)

 

Works In Italy

 

Works In Germany

The International Center for Creation and exhibition of  Art in Nature

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

Most of the river carvings are fish, scattered across a distance kilometers long. In his childhood, the rivers of Poloor were filled with fish. With the gradual polluting of the waters the fish disappeared. Through his carvings, he wishes to tell us that the river still has fish, though only images remain. The fish is a symbol of life and fertility. Some of the fish are immersed in water, but a greater number are upon the stones that lie in the middle of the river, their bodies only partly under water. The rush of water constantly soaks them, while the bubbling of the river provides a suitable background for viewing the artwork. In spring, the fish are often completely submerged in water, while in summer and autumn they are often entirely dry. This effect is perhaps symbolic of global warming, drought and threats to survival. Yet to him, the fish symbolizes the human soul thirsty to experience life. One of his works at the First Conceptual Art Exhibition at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art was a video of his carvings on the riverbank, emphasizing the role of fish.

 

Most of the works of Ahmad Nadalian in the past decade focused on environmental art.  The works, which he has named River Art, is composed of carved rocks that have been abandoned at the site where they were created.  Various symbols are incised on boulders- chiefly fish, which for the artist are emblems of the human soul, thirsty to experience life, but also human figures, emblems of hands and feet, and images of birds, goats, snakes and crabs.

He leaped to fame in the West, after representing his River Art project in the 50th Biennale of Venice. Then he was invited to many countries by different art centers and organizations for promoting his message.  

Now most of Nadalian works are scattered across the earth. His environmental art project, include the carving on rocks, can be found in many countries such as Italy, Germany, USA, Spain, France, Uzbekistan,  Bangladesh, Lebanon, . and  his homeland Iran. 

In recent years, his small carved stones tossed into rivers or buried under the earth by himself or occasionally by travelers who bury them in different countries.   This project named "Hidden Treasure, An art exhibition for next millenniums". Over the past decade the artist has frequently traveled to cities and remote regions and locations in every continent to work with children and local residents to create countless treasures.  A number of small carved stones by Nadalian have been buried in different countries such as: Australia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt,  Netherlands,  Switzerland,  Russia, Japan, India, Brazil, China, Greece, UK,  Finland,  Morocco,  South Korea,  Ireland, Brazil,  Uzbekistan, France,  USA,  ...   Like archaeological artifacts, most of these stones are likely to remain hidden for generations.   

The fundamental concern of this artist is the search for harmony with nature, with ourselves, and the universe which surrounds us (Eva Shakouri Torreadrado).

His carved stones and the documentations of his "RiverArt" and "Hidden Treasure" projects including, video installation and multimedia and web art have been exhibited in 16 individual exhibitions and he has participated in more than 100 group exhibitions in many countries, such as Japan, The United Kingdom, Finland, and France, ...

Nadalian's life and artistic activities in Iran and abroad have been the subjects of some documentary film by filmmaker such as Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Fergus Meiklejohn, Catherine MacDonald and Vesta Much.   In addition in many TV reports and interviews focused on Nadalian's environmental works.

Nadalian's life and artistic activities in Iran and abroad have been the subjects of a documentary films by Mojtaba Mirtahmasb.  His environmental works have also been recorded by Fergus Meiklejohn, Catherine MacDonald and Vesta Mauch. In addition in many TV reports and interviews focused on Nadalian's environmental works.

He has been introduced as one of the world's leading environmental artists by Edward Lucie Smith in his recent book Art Tomorrow.

He was photographed by German artist Gottfried Junker who collected the photos of "The most exciting Contemporary Artists (a work of 7 years and much travels in the world).

Nadalian enjoys collecting stones, which he considers to be ready made sculptures.  He feels a great bond with nature, and enjoys living outdoors.  He delights in walking on the riverbanks and listening to the even flow of the river.  Certain questions have always occupied his mind; how does the inherent harmony of nature give form to these stones through the flow of water? Can one be as delicate and flowing as water, and bring order and significance to solid rock?

The stones speak to him. Their shapes exemplify the harmonious structures of the universe. His most glorious moments are when a chunk of rock captivates his imagination. His figures already exist in nature. It is not his mind alone that selects the forms from nature. Perhaps these forms, products of natures harmonious structure, have selected him, and wish to teach him how to see. He accepts the natural structure, and abides by its rules. His works depict the balance and flow of nature.  

Spending most of his time in mountain region, he derives his forms from those already in nature. The shape of a stone is meaningful to him. He has collected thousands of stones, and each is a distinct figure to him. In gathering stones and arranging them in novel patterns, he strives to discover the meanings hidden within.

One of his famous collection of work is a set of carvings at the Haraz River near Mt. Damavand (near the village of Poloor, 65 kilometers from the Tehran-Amol road). This series, which he has named River Art, is composed of carved rocks that have been abandoned at the site where they were created. He intends to transform this area into a permanent repository for his art. Instead of being displayed in a gallery or museum, the artwork has been presented in nature itself. 

The designs on the riverbank are human figures, hands, feet, birds, goats, crabs, snakes and fish. Symbols of the Zodiac, the sun and the moon surround these designs, reminding the viewer that the images are not merely representations of nature, but symbolic concepts. A few examples of these carved images depict a man and a woman, hands raised upwards to cup a hollow in the rock, where water gathers during the rain for small birds to drink. These works recall Anahita, the goddess of water and fertility. There is a great slab of rock in the middle of this river, where another of these holes allows water to gather. A bird has been carved on this rock, its beak lowered into the hollow, appearing to drink from the water gathered there. Other birds have been carved near other pools of water along the riverbank.

A number of the works on the riverbank are images of hands. Eyes look out from the palms of these hands, and they are surrounded by symbols of water, fire and earth. The hands reach toward a plant growing near the top, away from the snake carved at the foot of the stone. This composition could symbolize a turning from evil, a yearning for growth, fertility and life, and perhaps the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The significance of these works lies in their use of natural elements like water and plants.

He abandons small carved stones on the riverbank. He leaves his contact numbers and website address (www.riverart.net) on these stones, yet has no inclination to disclose their exact whereabouts. What he intends is for the spectator searching for the artwork to perhaps discover something more valuable than his stones in nature. He then considers himself a partner in the spectators findings.

But not all of the work is in a small scale. One of his largest works, a rock about three meters long, shows a human figure, respectfully seated before a tree; perhaps the tree of life, or the tree of existence. He has carved various images on the stones lining the ground among the riverbank and houses, near bridges and on garden wallsa young piper, a womans face combined with an image of the moon, prints of human feet, birds and snakes, as well as many other abstract motifs. Set along the banks of the Haraz are a number of nets filled with stones, set by the villagers to provide barriers against flooding. Birds have been carved on the stones in these nets, birds that seem to be trapped in their net cages.

Most of the river carvings are fish, scattered across a distance kilometers long. In his childhood, the rivers of Poloor were filled with fish. With the gradual polluting of the waters the fish disappeared. Through his carvings, he wishes to tell us that the river still has fish, though only images remain. The fish is a symbol of life and fertility. Some of the fish are immersed in water, but a greater number are upon the stones that lie in the middle of the river, their bodies only partly under water. The rush of water constantly soaks them, while the bubbling of the river provides a suitable background for viewing the artwork. In spring, the fish are often completely submerged in water, while in summer and autumn they are often entirely dry. This effect is perhaps symbolic of global warming, drought and threats to survival. Yet to him, the fish symbolizes the human soul thirsty to experience life. One of his works at the First New Art Exhibition at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art was a video of his carvings on the riverbank, emphasizing the role of fish.

Through  ritual ceremony and performances, he hopes to sanctify nature. To him, walking along a riverbank and washing the stones, which he has already carved, is not only a performance, but also a prayer, a form of worship, an invocation. Perhaps even purification, the baptism of a culture from which only a fossilized image remains. One version of these performances, usually perform with his family (including his son, his wife and his mother) is a dedication to rain, blessings and fertility. Elements such as water, earth, fire and air are used in this work.

He often leaves traces of his wet hand on the dry rocks of a riverbank, or wet footprints on dry rocks. The imprints inevitably disappear after a few minutes. To him these finite and dying traces of hand or feet symbolize the material aspect of man, his mortality. These dying works by Nadalian, lasting no more than a few minutes, may appear a wholly different issue from the themes of fertility, creation and eternity which are depicted on stone forever. However, the link between them is that the basis upon which both have been created is water, and they are presented in the river.

His family, ordinary people and children are not only the audience of his performance, but also participants. For his body art, he invites an old man to join him. Their dialogue is very interesting. On the one hand, he performs contemporary art among the public, ordinary people, trying to make them simple and understandable. On the other hand, the beliefs of these very people enrich his works, and the culture which exist among his simple countrymen is the source of the works he displays and exhibits for intellectuals.

He greatly enjoys working with children.  The village children draw charcoal pictures on the rocks of the riverbank, and he uses these images to carve into the rocks. He uses the vision and abilities of children to pass his message on to next generation: a message of love, the love of nature.

 

Contact:

Nadalian either traveling or living in mountain. We may pass you message to him
Click here for Contact
 

Best view, 1024 by  768  display resolution