About Art Work
The act of making art using scrap iron, gears and wheels and other junk material reveals Jazeh Tabatabaei’s artistic courage, and places him in a unique stance in Iranian modern sculpture. Woman promenading with a Dog is a typical example of his assemblages which mark the first case of using scrape iron, gears, nuts and bolts, and wheels in sculpture making in Iran. The lifeless fragments coming from the world of discarded machinery find a new life through the creative act and turn into amiable beings. Hard materials are of special interest to Jazeh, which he artfully employs in his sculptures without jeopardizing the imaginary, fairy-tale character of his subject matters.
The assemblage has been extensively practiced as an artistic technique in the context of Western modern art- typically by Cubist and Futurist artists. Jazeh, however, experienced it in a local context and employed it in favour of a highly personal idiom. Each fragment of these sculptures were once used to fulfill a certain function, coils in the foot of the dog, gears in the human body and scrape iron fragments in the limbs previously constituted functional elements in various machineries.
His keen imagination is full of myths and legends and is strongly tied to his native culture. He selects from these culture-specific elements and recreates them in a symbolic manner. Humans, fairy-tale creatures, myths and folk stories make parts of these elements. Sphinx creatures, winged horses, demons, fairies, angels and mythical kings come from this imaginary world. The tough material finds a new life in the hands of the innovative sculptor, and dynamic, vivid beings are made out of solid, industrial material.
Some of the prototypes of these sculptures and their direct sources of inspiration might be found in Persian literary heritage, including folk literature and ancient texts, like One Thousand and One Nights, Kalila & Demna, Ajaib-al-Makhlughat (Wonders of Creatures) and imaginary manuscript and lithograph illustrations. All his creatures present a unified, coherent character despite their structural diversity; just like myth, which is characterized by an integrated and organic unity.
Jazeh prefers the world of myth over the real world in choosing his subject matter. In the challenge between myth and history, he chooses the myth, as does Jean Cocteau, who prefers myth over history since in his worldview, the historical reality proves wrong in the passage of time, while the myth begins with a lie and ultimately becomes truth.