The Visual Language of Reza Abedini

Platform 21, Amsterdam

11 December 2006 - 21 January 2007

Platform 21 presents an exhibition devoted to Iranian graphic designer Reza Abedini. Through his work one discovers another side of Iran, the one we don’t see on CNN, the Iran of poetry, Persian tradition and modern culture.

Reza Abedini’s style unites the rich calligraphic tradition of Persian culture with ‘modernity’. On 13 December he receives the Principal Prince Claus Award for his way of applying the knowledge and accomplishments of Iran’s artistic heritage, renewing them, and making them exciting again.

This exhibition shows Abedini’s appreciation of Persian tradition, the historic material he uses as inspiration, his contemporary designs and the work of his students at the university of Teheran. The combination of image and typography is the most distinguishing characteristic of his work. Though the pieces look as if they have been painted, in fact they have been made on a computer.

Platform 21 has invited Dutch graphic designers Irma Boom and Hans Wolbers to design the presentation with Abedini. It offers a frame of reference, a context in which Abedini’s work can be understood. After all, most western viewers cannot read the words and symbols, and our image of Iranian culture is still influenced by images we see in the news.

Besides the exhibition, the programme will feature a closed Master Class for students of the Sandberg Institute and the Design Academy and a public lecture to be given by Reza Abedini at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy.

Reza Abedini
Abedini (1967, Iran) emphasises the relationship between visual tradition and modern design and encourages investigation of the long, rich history of Persian art and calligraphy. He teaches graphic design and visual culture at Tehran University.

Hans Wolbers
Hans Wolbers is creative director of Lava graphic designers, Amsterdam, which was founded in 1990. Lava became famous for restyling and designing various commercial and sponsored magazines. Besides designing, Lava organizes lectures and workshops and work has been exhibited and published. In 1999 the Dutch Publishers Society honoured Hans Wolbers with the title “Art director of the year”. One of his latest projects is the book ‘New Visual Culture of Modern Iran’ for BIS Publishers, which he created in cooperation of Reza Abedini.

Irma Boom
Irma Boom (1960) is a Dutch graphic designer who received her first ‘best book design’ award in 1988. In 1991 she started her own studio, Irma Boom Office. Besides books, which are her main interest, she designs corporate identities, year reports, calendars and stamps. She teaches at the Yale University and has received many awards, amongst which the Gutenberg-Preis 2001 of the city of Leipzig. She is also responsible for the corporate identity of the Prince Claus Fund.

Prince Claus Fund
The Prince Claus Fund is a platform for intercultural exchange. In collaboration with people and organisations from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Fund realises contemporary activities and publications in the field of culture and development. The Prince Claus Awards are part of this policy. The Principal Prince Claus Award of €100,000 will be presented on 13 December.