Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar Interview with Mohammad Bozorgi



1. What is your story Mohammad?

A general question and an important one of course! It is about someone who has decided not to be on an average level, although understood that there are many things out of his hands, out of control, in other words compulsive. The passing of time thought me that I have little authority on what I was considering I have, therefore after that, I determined to move in the road of possibilities, which is my art’s beginning.


My art is the wonder, the anxiety of a restless soul in seeking of life and death, sometimes stormy or sometimes calm. A huge interior conflict which creates my art; sometimes I illustrate the events surrounding me, another time I am showing exactly what is happening in my own very interior personal layers of life. When filled with hope and desires, I tent to try to change the world and occasionally it is hopeless. These are all tensions that I like to hold with me forever. 


I have graduated in 3 different majors; BA in Biomedical Engineering, MA in Executive Management as well as excellent grades in calligraphy. Biomedical Engineering, Art and Management were all my permanent concerns. In the field of calligraphy, I have mastered ten Arabic and Persian scripts, Nasta’liq,Shikasteh (broken), Thuluth, Naskh, Diwaniand Kufic styl, but I don’t limit myself into classic rules of calligraphy, although I honour them, there is something that pushed me to exceed all the above.


2. Discuss your art practice process. How long did it take for you to master the calligraphy skill?

I have gained the excellent degree of calligraphy from Iran’s Association of Calligraphers and have learnt ten Arabic and Persian scripts. I faced calligraphy when I was thirteen for the first time, and I am involved in the field for about twenty-three years.Choosing calligraphy between other types of art had two reasons; first it was about my parents who saw talents in me in regards to calligraphy and second, it was the most inexpensive art practice to learn. Frankly, I am satisfied with my direction towards calligraphy, no one did guess those short summer courses would transform into my eternal practice. What you can learn from classic calligraphy is that considerable repetition of letters and words, is just like supporting these letters and words and practicing on hope and disappointment in the world of the artist’s solitude. Calligraphy is a difficult practice to master, for instance when you want to play any musical instrument, you have been attracted by its sound sometime ago, which in turn makes the practice process easier. In calligraphy as well, you have no idea of what is going on at the beginning when you do calligraphy. I remember I wrote about one thousand As and Bs in Farsi only to realize that I have just realized how to take baby steps. The key word of repeating; It’s exactly like the oriental meditation which can develop your patience. To me words and letters are like cages, which hunt me sometimes, or I feel drowned in them. It reminds me of David Gilmour’s electronic guitar, Peter Gabriel’s music or Shahnaz’s tar, and I’m still in love with this given sense of pendency, a kind of uncertainty in repetitions which has arrived into some modern calligraphic artworks similar to Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s.

After all these classical practices, I started to work with canvases, colours and other materials, I studied graphic and was really keen to try new things, just like now. I have no fear to deform the letters, similar to a child playing with kid’s clay! Unlike many other calligraphers, I prefer to suffuse my canvas from letters, as Jackson Pollock did by colours. I am living with words and letters, they are dynamic in my works and frames cannot restrict their motion.



3. What are you doing to grow as an Iranian artist today?

To describe the connection between the art market and Iranian artists, I should emphasise on political issues in latest years, and as I know, Iranian artists were not in appropriate market conditions. No matter what type of Iranian artist you are, I believe that it is impossible to separate an artist’s progress from the art economic situation. Artists specially living in Iran had no serious support since a few years back now and it hurts a lot, as in this way they cannot really concentrate on their art.

If your question is addressed to me, I guess I do nothing but my own work. I think it is just my calligraphy work, which I can create in the best possible manner without any restrictions. Of course I truly believe that calligraphy for me - as an element - is the best abstract possibility for my works. Additionally, calligraphy in general has rich forms, is our language and has life inside of itself.

4. Who are your favourite contemporary artists?

Jackson Pollock, Escher, Andy Warhol, Victor Vazarely, and Mr. Movahhed - an Iranian noticeable calligrapher whom I learnt a lot from.

5. Favourite musician?

Being from today’s world full of contradiction, I listen to different types of music such as Shajarian and Roger Waters, however, there always are some permanent musicians to me: Zbigniew Preisner, Eleni Karaindrou, Ennio Morricone and from the Iranians: Shahnaz and Mohammad-Reza Shajarian are a few to name.




6. What is your life motto?

No special life mottos, however I do have faith on some things. First, to show what you really are and to enjoy life, because life is simply too short and the life after death is the reflection of what has happened in this world. Second, to chose for your own while showing what you really like in this world, and lastly, helping others, even if it would be a small gesture.

7. What inspires you?

I am inspired from nothing and everything. Nature, mechanical life, human events, music, cinema and other artist’s works from ancient to contemporary are a few examples. The notable point is that all these elements always entries my mind and constantly changes my art practices.

8. What do you love most about art?

For me art is creating something in non-existence, and this creation embraces a collection of perplexity, pendency and uniqueness.

9. What projects are you working on presently?

I am currently working on three projects simultaneously. The first is a series, which includes 20 pieces by combining calligraphy with influential characters, places and events of the 20th century. The second series is combining collages and calligraphy, and the third is in regards to clothes and suits made of painted canvases, meaning that I send my art to a tailor instead of a frame maker.





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