I am a Greek artist and a foreigner to Iran. Not truly European since Greece is surely something of its own but not eastern either. I stayed in Iran for several months and in 2008 organized an exhibition in Athens with 19 artists that live and work in Tehran called Lion under the rainbow. That’s how I came to know of Reza Bangiz unique paintings. Actually not exactly paintings since he has developed though the years his own technique a mixture of linocut and painting. Mr. Bangiz is one of the rarest and striking examples of resistance and political consciousness that goes beyond easy accusations that please the western mind, but is subtle and requires great sacrifices. What I see in his work is a defiance of color and luscious extravagant themes, the negation of decorative bright patterns that one sees almost in all popular painting from Tehran. Maybe only Mr. Bangiz was brave enough to sacrifice his popularity, that comes with bright colors in Tehran it seems, to sacrifice his early commercial success in order to be true to his beliefs. When in Tehran I saw many younger artists who are angry and supposedly revolt, but at the same time many of these angry artists are primarily anxious for recognition from the heads of the western art world, and they advertise the destruction and pain of their own country in order to become popular. They can almost measure how much money, fame and acceptance from the west each complain and each new “political” work will offer them. In Mr. Bangiz works on the other hand one sees a true revolution and a true passion for truth. It’s a passion that negates itself, that reveals itself hidden, that appears at times as devoid of wisdom, as children’s sketches. Following what I understand to be a Sufi tradition Mr. Bangiz’s simple and pure forms reveal sensitivity deeply rooted in morality only that this wisdom that his works communicate may also appear to be empty of all meaning. One sometimes wonders if one is looking at a masterpiece or a children’s sketch. The works appear full of all that is true and empty of all meaning at the same time. The balance of the composition and the refined manner of the lines, the subtle painted part of the linocuts with the precise and telling titles offer one of the finest examples of Iranian painting, setting Mr. Bangiz in the place of a true master and a brave fighter for truth and beauty.
Alexandros Georgiou, is a Greek artist and curator of the exhibition “Lion Under The Sun” exhibited during Art-Athina in Athens in 2008.