Teheran, Iran born 1949
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Materials & Technique: sculptures, wood, bamboo, sand, steel, black granite
Hossein Valamanesh immigrated to Australia from Iran in 1973, bringing with him, among other things, a knowledge of Farsi (Persian) poetry and an openness to the experiences that awaited him in his new land.
There are literary references in Falling, but also open-ended, poetic possibilities. The artist has commented that the work is a reading of a scene from Salman Rushdie’s book The satanic verses (1988), in which the protagonist gracefully falls from an exploding airliner, landing on the surface of the ocean. Valamanesh has said of Falling: ‘Leaving behind the narrative of the book, it stands for itself and it is more like falling with grace’.
A strong connection with nature is evident in Valamanesh’s large, ethereal sculpture. Constructed from carved wood and bamboo, the head and shoulders of the descending figure are surfaced with red sand. This link with the earth gradually merges with the colour and structure of the long curving forms of the bamboo that in turn convey the weightlessness of wind and air. The head rests on a circle of polished black granite suggestive of water.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra