Reza Yahyae’es art work at Milad Tower by Mohammad Beheshti
Milad Tower is the most symbolic urban construction built in the past three decades and time shall prove its immortality. The symbolic aspect is so vividly distinct that it will function in the present time and the future. Its symbolic appeal, be it intentional or not, attests to the dream of Iranians in this era. Although there are no insignificant spaces in this tower, the most prominent space is its throne, the sky dome, which is naturally expressive. According to symbolic rationale, the sky dome is the pinnacle of Ghaf where the phoenix nests. The phoenix is a symbol of Iranian wisdom and cognition. Historically Iranians have interacted with peripheral milieu, and its culture derives primarily from diverse neighboring influences.
These interactions resulted in cultural wisdom that helped Iran to survive during bitter historical times; and in peace time mobilized opportunities for them to excel in all fields. Based upon this essence, in comparison to other cultures, we have witnessed persistence and pride throughout the millenniums. Yahyaei, in his artistic somnambulists, peeks at the ancestry of Iranian historical wisdom. The artist returns successfully from his pivotal adventure and brings an abundance of symbols and icons, each referencing a segment of Iranian culture. Through this window, in a space sometimes fuzzy and sometimes clear, he shows us images from Sialk to Marlik, Susa to the burned city, Jiroft to the hills of Damghan, Shahdad to the springs of Rey, Hasanlou to Chaghazanbil. All are present in his feast as he sought to probe through history. Yahyaei avoids using visual icons as parts of his speech. This reveals his modesty. Artists are considered successful once they have expressed their own language, but this success is transcended once they provide a context for the entire culture of a nation to speak up.
This is the true purpose of architecture, to help human existence convey meaning. All tasks of architecture, such as mere physical needs and technical performances, are attainable without attaching meaning. Milad tower at first glance is a telecommunication and broadcasting tower.
Its primary aim is to comply with urgent needs of Tehran, but its other operations are directed towards achieving an architectural, symbolic piece of art. Furthermore each architectural piece is, in itself, a product and a cultural phenomenon. Hence, the monument embeds the notion of time within itself. Each cultural phenomenon attains meaning by locating itself within a cultural domain throughout time. Milad Tower sky dome rests upon the highest spot, and where the sky and the earth merge. It is the highest point of any view. Hence it is a place where architecture and cultural notions unfold simultaneously.
Reza Yahyaei’s art work is located at the central wall of the construction, and he relies on concepts derived from the culture of this land to confer meaning to the piece. Yahyaei displays the work to his viewers in two segments. The first segment presents symbolic notion of creation by depicting the heavens through the four essential elements. And in the second part, water, wind, earth and fire are presented as the arena for centuries of cultivation and human attempts to access the magical world.
A work that risks to go beyond the self. The artist immerses his own inspiration and inclination in each sign and visual element. Liberating elements from their own frames and reasons, we are intoxicated to doubt.
These elements exist in images, architectural ornamentations and potteries and address mythologies, beliefs and appreciation for nature. The details and complexities unfold in transcendent notions. Yahyaei’s art work must be viewed minutely and deliberately. None of these elements are lacking symbolic and iconic notions visible throughout this land. He demonstrates moments from the passage of history and evolution of the mind in this land. In fact every single one of these elements are present. Be it on the bodies of water, wind, earth and fire, or the way they appear on Yahyaei’s “evil eye“ or “pomegranate” and “cypress”, all address a complex and marvelous view about the surroundings. It is as if he narrates them in this way and orders them in a sequence. At first glance, his viewers distinguish his art works from others and realize his unity amongst others. In other words the artist succeeds in presenting himself as the market witness.
Best to remain silent about the piece. The artist’s work deserves to not be criticized. Let it speak for itself and be observed without a mediator.
In the second state, the culture of a nation sits upon the frame of his art work. This state is seemingly easy, but actually difficult to imitate. It is easy because it only requires a collection of symbols and icons from a culture, and to achieve that one does not need to be an artist. It is difficult because it requires artist’s quintessential interaction with the culture and situating himself in the shade of the culture. Being in the shade requires the artist’s maturity, which is only acquired by the intrusion of real life.
This maturity requires understanding the difference between “being in the shade” and “absence”. An artwork in which the artist is absent is not valued as an artwork. It is a superstitious repetition of culture and art work, in which the culture sits on a throne. The more it has deepened in the culture, it casts more shade onto the artist. And the more shadow is cast upon the arts, the artist’s presence is more vividly felt; the more in the shade, the more present.
In the most feasible encounter we witness an essential relationship between the artwork, the artist and the culture of the land. In his art work, Yahyaei introduces himself as an artist of such relationships. The artists of this kind all face one focal point and that is Iranian culture.
In the most symbolic construction of the past three decades, at its most significant spot, at Ghaf pinnacle, Yahyaei unfolds a sight into the most valuable jewel found in this land. That is, the jewel of Iranian culture.
Main Member of Farhangestan-e Honar