publications etc

Rethinking the Contemporary Art of Iran

Edited by Hamid Keshmirshekan

Rethinking the Contemporary Art of Iran (Hardback)

Rethinking the Contemporary Art of Iran seeks to articulate an alternative narrative of Iranian art in recent times, diverging from the prevalent portrayals often found in publications derived from exhibitions or collections in Western Europe and North America. It also steers away from the prevailing trend-setting schemes within the art world, particularly those attempting to “define” what qualifies as “contemporary Iranian art.” Its primary aim is to portray the contemporary art of Iran, embracing a diverse range of cultural expressions, each contributing to a vibrant mosaic that represents the multifaceted realities of the country – realities frequently overlooked in recent publications. The book highlights how this richness finds its most vivid expression in the works of emerging artists from both Iran and its diaspora over the past few decades. The same criteria apply to artists from earlier generations featured in the book. The selection is guided by a priority placed on those artists whose work, despite its significant merit in addressing previously unexplored facets of the art of Iran, has seldom been presented in recent exhibitions and publications. 

The book comprises three essays that aim to provide multiple perspectives on contemporaneity, plurality and historical context, offering extensive insights into contemporary art practices both within Iran and among the diasporas. The second section encompasses about 400 works by artists, accompanied by texts elaborating on their oeuvre and the pieces depicted in the book. This section is organised into three distinct categories, “Societal and Cultural Resonance,” “Fantastical Visions,” and “Echoes of History,” each focusing on a specific artistic approach. Furthermore, the book provides biographies of the artists, a general bibliography and an index of artists

The Soviet delegation at the 1934 Ferdowsi millennial celebration in Iran: synergy and friction between Iranian and Soviet cultural diplomacy

Matthias Battis, Farniyaz Zaker Institute of Advanced Studies (UCL) SSEES and Institute of Advanced Studies (UCL)

The paper examines the role of the Soviet participation during the millennial celebration of the Persian poet Ferdowsi in Iran in the autumn of 1934. While the Iranian government’s nationalising rationalebehind the month-long festivities has been explored in some detail, much less is known about the considerable cultural diplomacy effort of the Soviet Union, which sent the largest of all international delegations to Iran.

The paper provides a look behind the scenes of this effort, on the part played by Soviet academics in it as well as on its reception by left-leaning Iranian intellectuals. We will shed light on the expectations, motivations, hopes and fears of Soviet and Iranian scholars engaged in the organisation of the Ferdowsi millennial celebration, such as Iurii Marr, Aleksandr Freiman, Fatemeh Sayyah and Saeed Nafisi, using mainly their private and official correspondence as well as their contributions to contemporary Russian and Iranian newspapers and journals (including Ettela'at, Izvestiia, Pravda, Mehr). The picture that will emerge is one of the secularising and nationalising elites cooperating with each other to create secular heroes and myths of the nation in the precarious service of two different authoritarian states.

jenseits: Place, Dwelling, and Art Practice

 written by Farniyaz Zaker 

Oxford Artistic and Practice-Based Research Platform (OAR), Issue 1 (2017)

We tend to think of the concept of ‘dwelling’ in relation to places. How and why would we think of dwelling in terms of artworks? 

 Expanding the definition of dwelling from architecture to the wider sphere of art, this essay argues that artworks can transform the way we dwell in a particular place and that they are sometimes even capable of stimulating a sense of dwelling in both artist and audience. It argues that artworks can be what Yi-Fu Tuan has called concretions of value, and it discusses not just the theme of dwelling in some of Farniyaz Zaker’s artworks, such as jenseits (2013) and Primeval Relationship I (2014), but also the act of dwelling as an important aspect of her art practice. It examines how these works are informed by the artist’s own experience of dwelling and how they themselves become akin to dwelling places that are capable of generating associations, emotions, and memories.


On Farniyaz Zaker’s practice in the book “WORD: Beyond Language, Beyond Image” by Mariam Motamedi Frase

 The book explores the epistemological, experiential and political implications of words when lifted out of language and discursive meaning. Referring to reliable sources and research, Motamedi studies the function of word with different approaches and in different contexts. Centering this subject, she explores the language’s conceptual limitations, contradictions and its extensions with image.

Studying different linguistic approaches, Motamedi reviews works of art concerning this concept from various artists and she explores works by Farniyaz Zaker and a scene from “The Story of My Life” by Helen Adams Keller for demonstrating words textural.

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Fields of Influence on European Art 

Institut fur Kulturaustausch 

"Who know himself and others well no longer may ignore: Orient and Occident dwell separately no more."

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Western-Eastern Divan, 1819

This catalogue is published in conjunction with the multinational creative Europe Project

Farniyaz Zaker's works are reviewed in this catalogue. 

Made in Mind

An interview with Farniyaz Zaker, Made in Mind Magazine, edited by Francesca Pirillo and  Dario Carotenuto

Autumn 2016, Issue 8, pp. 25-37 

How did you get into art? Did you attend art school?
I have a long-standing interest in Fine art, particularly in textiles and the way they communicate with architectural space. My work has been exhibited internationally since 2002, garnering numerous awards. In 2006 I graduated with a BA in Textiles and Carpet art Studies from the art university of Tehran, where I have studied the techniques, artistic traditions and cultural/geographical particularities of textiles and carpets. But it was only in 2008, when I embarked on an MA in Textile Design at the Winchester School of art (Southampton university), that textiles and carpets became an intrinsic part of my practice. During that period, I was particularly interested in the richness of garden design carpets and textiles, and in their mutual relationship with architecture. Subsequently, I decided to engage with this subject not only through my art practice, but also theoretically and academically. I had the privilege to be awarded the Lamb and Flag scholarship of St John’s College in 2011, which allowed me to pursue a DPhil (PhD) in Fine arts (theory and practice) at Oxford university’s Ruskin School of Art. Completing my studies in 2015/16, I used this time to study how sexuality has been embodied architecturally, and to express my insights ...


A Room Without Boundaries: Ai Weiwei At The Royal Academy Of Arts

written by Farniyaz Zaker

Home Cultures Journal, Issue 13:2, 2016, pp. 221-223. 

Ai Weiwei is one of those contemporary artists who is acutely aware of the power of architecture and its influence on our lives. Although his artistic practice is deeply rooted in his campaign for freedom of speech in China, it is also embedded in architectural theory and discourse. This was especially striking in his recent exhibition in the Royal Academy of Arts, whose historical rooms ...

Home, Displacement and the Body: Mona Hatoum at Tate Modern | London

written by Farniyaz Zaker

Romulus Magazine, (The Journal of Wolfson College, Oxford), 2016, pp.12-13.  

The exhibition of the British-Palestinian artist, Mona Hatoum, at Tate Modern draws on thirty-five years of her practice, and is her first major survey in the UK. The show consists of a body of work that brings together distinct themes with a variety of media, including performance, sculpture, video, installation and photography. Issues such as the body, displacement, migration, vulnerability and sexuality are at the heart of her practice. In this review, I would like to single out three works by Hatoum: Measures of Distance (1988), Light Sentence (1992) and Undercurrent (red) (2008). They are, in my opinion, among her best works, cleverly uniting the themes of ...

Bolgeler Ve  Sinirlari Acan Sanatci

an interview with Farniyaz Zaker by levant Ozata

Istanbul Art News, January 2016, p. 22

Earthly Paradise

written by Farniyaz Zaker

Oculus: Identity // and place, The Journal of the Edgar Wind Society For Art History, Michaelmas 2014/Hilary 2015, pp. 37 and 46-47

In his remarkable work, Getting Back into Place, Edward S. Casey explains the inherent human need for place and dwelling. He describes two different places and two separate ways of dwelling. The first place is an indoor shopping arcade, which he used to traverse regularly as a child.1 Since he often revisits this place in his memory, it also represents a specific (memorised) way of dwelling. The second dwelling place is his current study room, in which he dwells more immediately in time and space and whose boundaries a more clearly defined than those of the shopping arcade.2 There are, thus, different ways and places of dwelling: Casey felt safe, protected and intimate while walking around the arcade as a child; and he felt this way when returning to that place in his memory; and he experiences a sense of dwelling while working in his study.

 One of the memorised dwelling places that I occasionally revisit and re-dwell in is ... 


 architecture, memory, dwelling  

Words and Walls, Texts and Textiles:

A Conversation

written by Mariam Motamedi Fraser and Farniyaz Zaker

  Theory Culture & Society Journal, 2014, pp.1-20

 DOI: 10.1177/0263276414531051

The online version of this article can be found at: 


The authors explore how the multi-media artist Farniyaz Zaker uses words to establish connections between different kinds of materials in her work, and how her work makes words material. Zaker’s conception of dress as ‘microcosmic dwelling places’ enables the authors to think about veiling practices, Islams and gender not only in relation to the familiar domains of state, piety, subjectivity, consumption, capitalism, public and private (for instance), but also with regard to some less selfevidently relevant contexts. Light, architecture and cinema, as well as walls, windows, curtains, coffins, tents and screens, are among them. It is by way of these multiple refractions that the authors are able to return to those debates that conceive of Islamic veiling in terms of embodied, material practices and to support and develop further reasons for an understanding of that most exceptionally charged piece of material, the veil, as more than a sign of...


architecture, dress, Islamic, materiality, signs, veiling, words

The following conversation is based on a discussion event that was held at Goldsmiths, University of London, in conjunction with the launch of Farniyaz Zaker’s exhibition Re-Enveloped (2013). It is an exploration of the authors’ shared interest in the material, visceral dimension of words, and of words as more than signs. (Or, to put that differently, of words as not only pointers to intentions and meanings that lie elsewhere.) In this article, we explore how Farniyaz uses words to establish connections between different kinds of materials in her work – the materials of dress in particular – and how her work makes words material. Although the article is not about veiling practices, Islams and gender per se, the nature of the discussion nevertheless raises issues that are relevant to them. Indeed our intentionally oblique approach enables us to think about gender and dress not only in relation, for instance, to the familiar and important domains of state, piety, subjectivity, consumption and capitalism, public and private, liberal politics and ‘the powers of freedom’ (Amir-Moazami et al., 2011), but also with regard to some less self-evidently relevant contexts. Light, architecture, and cinema are among them. So too are walls, windows, curtains, coffins, tents and screens. All of these connections are generated by Farniyaz’s understanding of dress as ‘microcosmic dwelling places’. It is by way of these mul- tiple refractions that we return, enriched (we hope), to those debates that conceive of Islamic veiling in terms of embodied, material practices (Mahmood, 2005). Through our discussion of Farniyaz’s work and the role of words within it, we support and develop further reasons for an understanding of that most exceptionally charged piece of material, the veil, as more than a sign of ....  

Arte Laguna Prize 13.14

Exhibition Catalogue

Title: 8° International Arte Laguna Prize 
Release date: 22/03/2013
Pages: 176, Paperback
Size: 30x30 cm
Language: Italian and English


Laura Gallon / Beatrice Susa


Igor Zanti


Enrico Bettinello: Director of Teatro Fondamenta Nuove; Silvia Ferri de Lazara: Director of Fondazione March; Victoria Lu: Creative Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Taiwan; Domenico Quaranta: Critic and Curator; Veeranganakumari Solanki: Independent Curator and Art writer; Miguel Amado: Curator and Critic; Sabrina Van Der Ley: Director of Contemporary Art at the Nasjonalmuseet in Oslo; Jonathan Watkins: Director Ikon Gallery; Andrea Viliani: Director Museum MADRE in Naples; Claudia Zanfi: Art Historian and Cultural Promoter. 

MoCA Modern Contemporary Art


nora comunicazione, milano alessandra Lazzarin, arte Laguna; Photographers: eleonora De martin, nicola D'Orta, caterina De Zottis, Giulia Gattere; Videomaker: angela cilli, Gianluca miotto; Other collaborators: Laura marcomin, Giandomenico Padoan Graphic design: Beatrice Susa and Valeria Lorenzon; Artwork first page: “Senza titolo” massimo attardi; Print: europrint


museaum edit 

The State of Art

The State of Art – Sculpture & 3D #1
Edited by Andy Laffan, Chris Hodson and Robin Laffan.
Softcover, 10.8″ x 8″ (27.6cm x 20.3cm)

29 Sculptors and 3D Artists.
A snapshot of current contemporary art practice, 63 artworks from 29 sculptors and 3D artists in this anthology of new and established artists.

Angela Smith, Dario Santacroce, Hollie Mackenzie, Vojsava Fakhro, Philip Hearsey, Jack Sawbridge, Garry Martin, Emma Elliott, Claire Jackson, Louisa Boyd, Louise Emily Thomas, Paul Bonomini, Glenn ‘Fitzy’ Fitzpatrick, Mikhail Gubin, Richard Slee, Farniyaz Zaker, Mary Rouncefield, Min Kyung Kim, Sarah Clarke, Miroslaw Struzik, Jack Davis, Laura Bodo Lajber, Margaret Noble, Alessandro Carboni, Annamaria Kardos, Marcin Loki Klein, Sonya Zero, Carolyn Stubbs and Marisa Ferreira.

ISBN 978-1-909825-03-1
RRP £24.99 + Postage & Packing.
25% Discount £18.74 + Postage and Packing. (Orders direct from publisher)


I. A. F. 2014 (16th edition)

Exhibition Catalogue

 United Arab Emirates, Shj Gov. 

 Publisher: Department of Culture & Information - Art Directorate, P.O.Box: 5119 - Tel: +97165123333 

Dealing With an Image:

Representation of Iranian Women in Iranian Contemporary Art

written by Farniyaz Zaker

aRm Magazine (Ruskin Magazine), Third Issue, April 2013


Art theorists such as Thierry de Duve have pointed out that the universalism of an earlier age, when the artist was believed to legitimately speak on the behalf of others, has undergone a strong post-modernist and multicultural critique. However, when it comes to art from Iran, great parts of the audience seem to find it difficult to take a critical stance towards whatever is on display. Apparently, artist from the region are more readily believed to speak on behalf of others... 


representation, media, orientalism, artworks, Iran 


The Wall Of Europe

Exhibition Catalogue

Paese Museo, San Sperate-Sardinia, Italy, 2013

Umutlu Kaygi Arasında

an Interview with Farniyaz Zaker by Meltem Yilmaz

Cumhuriyet Newspaper: Kultur Sanat, 2 Temmuz 2012, p. 6.  

Parmaklikarin Arkasina Bir Medeniyet

an interview with Farniyaz Zaker and Mahmud Bakhshi by Firat Demir

Art Unlimited, issue18, 2012, pp. 112-113.


Exhibition Catalogue

 World Event Young Artists 2012

 Foreword: Silke Pillinger: Director, World Event Young Artists 2012; Editor/Copywriter: Ian Oxlade; Design: Joff and Ollie

Art as a Mode of Enquiry: In-Site 

Exhibition Catalogue

John Ruskin, the famous Victorian writer and art critic, opened the Ruskin School of Drawing within what was then called the University Galleries – The Ashmolean Museum to be – in 1871. It remained there for more than a century, only moving to its current premises at 74 High Street in 1974. In-Site aims to initiate a new dialogue between the Ruskin’s doctoral students and the museum. While there have been contemporary art exhibitions at the Ashmolean before, this is the first one to be integrated directly into the permanent collection. In rising to this challenge, we hope to draw out the relevance the two institutions – a museum and an art school – might still have for each other. 

We have chosen ‘art as a mode of enquiry’ as the theme for this interaction. The Museum is an institution dedicated to the collection and archiving of objects which have been identified as culturally significant, and conserved for preservation of heritage. As such, the museum has always been seen as a repository of knowledge; collected items become triggers of memory, both personal and collective, through which social histories are constructed. However, art is no less in the business of enquiry. At its best, it upsets our preconceptions, throws new light on matters at hand, and brings a new perspective to bear. This is the aim of the artists of In-Site. Rather than speak from the supposedly neutral space of a gallery, the artworks on display here derive their meaning through an integrated response to the permanent collection of the Ashmolean. As installations, film projections, performances and curatorial interventions, the works enter the contested space of the museum to destabilise established narratives, and to allow history and heritage to be interpreted as fluid and multiple. 

Artistic interventions here on show are as varied as art is today. Some works carry their meaning on their sleeve; others are more elusive. Some grapple with particular political and historical assumptions; others take more universal, existential or aesthetic concerns to heart. Within this multitude, though, the goals of the artists and of the museum do not come apart. The Ashmolean has always been a place of discovery and re-discovery, and we hope that our works add to this process. We hope they ignite a new, critical curiosity in the viewer, and allow new readings and emphases to emerge. 

Ruskin DPhil Curatorial Committee:
Jess Draper
Hilary Floe
Sohin Hwang
Natalie Sanderson
Vid Simoniti
Farniyaz Zaker  

International Print Biennale, 2011

 Exhibition Catalogue

Foreword: Ian Watson

 Northen Print, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 2NP

Tel: 01912617000



Participating Artists: Derek Michael Besant | Janet Mullarney | Aoife McGarrigle | Jennifer E. Price | Katsutoshi Yuasa | Paul Coldwell | Elizabeth Boast | Lauren Drescher | Becky Haughton | Dawn Cole | Chris D. Thomas | Eirini Boutasi | Ian Brown | Rew Hanks | Marta Lech | Jessica Harrison | Stefanie Dykes | Emmanuelle Giora | Nick Fox | Michael Donnelly | Farniyaz Zaker | Ioannis Belimpasakis | Fatima Ferreira | Nicholas Devison | Sunju Lee | Debi Keable | Reetta Hiltunen | Marcel Cowling | Lihie Talmor | Mustafa Faruki | Cat Jensen | Zenon Burdy | Gethin Wyn Jones | Danielle Creenaune | Eve Marguerite Allen | Sarah Gittins | Yiannis Baltagiannis | Bodil Frendberg | Stephen McNulty | Mariana Moranduzzo | Danielle Abbiate | Marcin Bialas | Carolyn Bunt | James Hugonin | Robin Duttson | Barthélémy Toguo  

This Leads Here

 Exhibition Catalogue (online catalogue) 

Exhibition of Master Students, 2009

Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton  

MTE Design Portfoli I and II 

MTE Design Portfolio I and II, 2006 - 2008

These books include carpet and textile patterns for floor covering projects. Most of the patterns illustrated in these two books are designed by Farniyaz Zaker. 

The designs of these books were used for several floor covering projects in Iran and  UAE such as Milad Tower of Tehran, Laleh Hotel of Tehran, Dubai Renaissance Hotel, Dubai Mariot Hotel, Dubai IBIS Hotel, Dubai Novotel Hotel,  and Shiraz Homa Hotel

The designs can be found at: 

Kaveh Golestan Annual Award and Exhibition

Exhibition Catalogue        

Printed by Nashre Digar publication house, Tehran, Iran, 2003