Berlin exhibit to turn spotlight on medieval, modern ceramics from Iran 

August 21, 2019 - 19:13

TEHRAN – Dozens of medieval and modern Iranian ceramics, selected from two German collections, will go on display at the Bumiller Collection, Studio X-Berg, in Berlin from September 12 to November 30.

The exhibit titled “Call Me anything but Ordinary” will also showcase modern works by Iranian crafter Mansureh Najarpour who is graduated from the Art University Isfahan.

According to the organizers, the event will put on show objects from the Bumiller Collection, which is affiliated with the University Museum of Islamic Art, and the Luschey Collection, arranged as an installation by the Frankfurt based artist Jorg Ahrnt in combination with his drawings.

Organized in collaboration with Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization, the exhibit is intended to pay homage to ceramics from the Iranian region and to build a bridge between the Orient and the Occident in a way to connect tradition and modernity in a lively way.

It also aims to stage “outstanding” and various achievements of medieval ceramists and to put into dialogue with contemporary art from Germany and Iran.

Techniques and motifs spread through the trade routes between the Near East and China at that time and led to an artistic syncretism that created new formal languages in Iranian space. The exhibition shows that ceramics is by no means just a commodity, but also serves as a ubiquitous image and information medium.

Bowl, ceramic, Nishapour (Neyshabur), Iran, 11th century

“The Frankfurt artist Jorg Ahrnt arranges the fragments of the Luschey collection into an installation and shows selected drawings. In his graphic work, he refers to historical objects of Iran and reflects the radiance of the shell floors - the center of the objects - as an image carrier and central point of view. For two decades, Ahrnt has been traveling to Iran on a regular basis, and his artistic work has been influenced both by Persian culture and archeology and by the country’s presence. In his works he questions his own, western view of the objects and the examination of the material and the language of form,” the Islamic Culture and Relations Organization reported.

Mansureh Najarpour (born 1990), a young Iranian artist from Isfahan, has devoted herself to experimental firing and glazing techniques. She will showcase an exhibition on contemporary Iranian pottery with her work.

Accompanying the exhibition is the first volume of the new publication series “Studies on the Bumiller Collection”. “From Ordinary to Luxury” which is a scientific documentation and analysis of 190 objects from the Bumiller Collection.

The Bumiller Collection comprises over 6000 objects from the 7th to the 13th century, among them the world’s largest collection of early Islamic bronzes. An important assemblage of ceramics, glass, manuscripts, stone and ivory carvings as well as coins complement the spectrum of early Islamic Art.

A poster for the ceramics exhibit “Call Me anything but Ordinary”

The objects are mostly from the Iranian region, which includes the present countries of Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan as well as northern India. They enable a fascinating insight into the medieval world along the Silk Road. Objects from Syria, Egypt and Moorish Spain complement the collection. They afford a comprehensive overview of the artisanal work of the Islamic world. Writing instruments, medical and cosmetic tools but also objects of daily life such as oil lamps, incense burners, cauldrons, jugs, locks all the way to mirrors, amulets and jewelry belonged to the basic inventory of a then household.

Floral and abstract ornaments as well as pictures of flora and fauna show a rich repertoire of décor, which was implemented partly in sophisticated metallurgical methods. Many examples of the manufacture and décor techniques such as repoussé, chasing and damascening exemplify the high standard of eastern artistic work.

The entire collection is on display in typologically order. In the foreground is the presentation of all the objects, be they novel or rare. In this way the never or rare published objects are accessible, the study of which may close some art history knowledge gaps in the research of Islamic metallurgy.