Works by†:A. Nadalian††† ›«—”Ū


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He was born in 1963, in Iran (Sangsar). He began his art activities in 1979s.† His early works at school were cartoon drawings and caricatures.††
In 1983 he entered the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran University,† studying for a Bachelor Degree in the field of Painting (BA).††He completed his studies in1988.†

He loves communicating with people.† Human life was† the main subjects of his early† works.††

He taught drawing and art history (the pre-university foundation course) from 1984 to 1990 at the Faculty of Art Tehran University and Shahed School of Arts in Tehran. From 1987 to 1990 he was a tutor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Tehran University.

In 1990 he went to France and stayed for two years in Paris, studying aspects of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian, Greek, African and European Modern art at different museums. Most of the work done in France was cartoon drawings. In 1991 he began studies at Mphil/ Ph.D. level at the University of Central England (UCE).† His research focused on "The Impact of Mysticism on Art".† He completed his studies in 1995 and was awarded a Ph.D. degree. During his Ph.D. studies he showed interest in cartoon drawing. "A Collection of Cartoon Drawings; Research: By Ahmad Nadalian" was published by The University of Central England in Birmingham in 1994 (ISBN- 1- 869954- 35-1).

He is currently teaching at the Faculty of Art in Shahed University of Tehran. He also teaches drawing and art history at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Tehran University, Alzahra University and Faculty of Art at the Islamic Azad University at a graduate level.

He has taken part in several conferences and seminars and his articles on Persian art and modern European art and its impact on the contemporary art of Iran have been published in different art journals and magazines.

However, he is an artist.† His drawings, paintings, reliefs (stone carvings) and installations have been exhibited in 10 individual exhibitions and he has participated in more than 30 group exhibitions.†††

During university years he traveled extensively to all parts of Iran and prepared more than 10000 slides from various aspects of† Persian culture, social life, customs and art (paintings, architecture, mural decoration, folk art and handicrafts).††These activities affected the subject matter and style of his drawings and paintings.†

His early works were published as a collection of drawings, by J.D.H.Z of Tehran University in 1987.† The second collection of his drawings, "Ahmad Nadalian" was published by Barg Press in 1993.† He has also illustrated four books of poetry and stories for children.

In spring, summer and most holidays he lives in his garden home in Poloor (a village 65 K.M. from Tehran) and enjoys collecting stones, which he considers to be ready made sculptures.† In recent years, beside drawing, painting and carving stones he has produced a number of installations.†††

Iranian New Year
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He feels a great bond with nature, and enjoys living outdoors.† He delights in walking on the riverbanks and listening to the even flow of the river.† Certain questions have always occupied his mind; how does the inherent harmony of nature give form to these stones through the flow of water? Can one be as delicate and flowing as water, and bring order and significance to solid rock?

The stones speak to him. Their shapes exemplify the harmonious structures of the universe. His most glorious moments are when a chunk of rock captivates his imagination. His figures already exist in nature. It is not his mind alone that selects the forms from nature. Perhaps these forms, products of natureís harmonious structure, have selected him, and wish to teach him how to see. He accepts the natural structure, and abides by its rules.†
His works depict the balance and flow of nature.††

His carvings are similar to his drawings and paintings.† His first carvings were of animals. These works recall his ancestral memories.† Yet the main focus of his work is man. To him man is not a material object. The humans portrayed in his works are celestial creatures, angels personified. Impassioned and light-footed, they cavort in space.

He said:

The creation of man and the universe have been illustrated in many ancient myths and religions. Beliefs concerning the beginnings of existence, creation and life portray the birth of man as an astonishing phenomenon. In the ancient world a mother was considered a creator, and worshipped as a goddess. The formation, growth and life of a child in the motherís womb were equal to the start of universal creation. Love is the source of creation and its continuance is rooted in love. A mother is the foundation of love and fertility. She is both lover and beloved.

Many artists of the past, as well as those of contemporary times have focused on the subject of death and the afterlife. Many artists have attempted to portray lifeless objects.† But most of my painting have a human theme, and portray aspects of human life. Creation and fertility are subjects I have been following in my paintings and carvings for many years now.

We have all experienced life before birth, and the initial stages that it precedes. Life before birth is a spiritual world of sorts. Do you recall anything of that life?

Ahmad Nadalianís works are mainly symbolic. His rock structures, carvings, sketches and paintings† focus on themes of fertility and creation. In recent years, alongside his sketches, paintings and carvings, he has presented his concepts in a technique of rock installations. Spending most of his time in the mountain region of Damavand, he derives his forms from those already in nature. The shape of a stone is meaningful to him. He has collected thousands of stones, and each is a distinct figure to him. In gathering stones and arranging them in novel patterns, he strives to discover the meanings hidden within. He has combined numerous stones in spiral patterns at his Pardees garden in the village of Poloor. This arrangement, set against the shrubs and flowers of the slanting garden hillside, can be seen from a distance away.

Following his works of land art, he created an installation for the First Biennial of the Islamic World. He had arranged stones upon the floor of one of the museumís halls, in a twisting spiral pattern. At the center was a spherical stone, carved with an image of a symmetrical twin fetus. This design is rooted in an ancient Iranian myth of creation. Ancient Iranians believed that Zervan (time), existed long before the Sky and the Earth. He had longed wished for a child, and after a thousand years of prayer, was granted twins. One of these was Evil, the other Good. The force of Good stood for goodness, light and beauty; the force of Evil represented all things bad, ugly and dark. The spiral pattern of the stones recalled Chinese Yin-Yang mythology, itself another myth of creation. The children of Zervan were also featured in other works on a smaller scale.

Another collection is a set of carvings at the Haraz River near Mt. Damavand (near the village of Poloor, 65 kilometers from the Tehran-Amol road). This series, which he has named ďRiver ArtĒ, is composed of carved rocks that have been abandoned at the site where they were created. He intends to transform this area into a permanent repository for his art. Instead of being displayed in a gallery or museum, the artwork has been presented in nature itself.†

The designs on the riverbank are human figures, hands, feet, birds, goats, crabs, snakes and fish. Symbols of the Zodiac, the sun and the moon surround these designs, reminding the viewer that the images are not merely representations of nature, but symbolic concepts. A few examples of these carved images depict a man and a woman, hands raised upwards to cup a hollow in the rock, where water gathers during the rain for small birds to drink. These works recall Anahita, the goddess of water and fertility. There is a great slab of rock in the middle of this river, where another of these holes allows water to gather. A bird has been carved on this rock, its beak lowered into the hollow, appearing to drink from the water gathered there. Other birds have been carved near other pools of water along the riverbank.

A number of the works on the riverbank are images of hands. Eyes look out from the palms of these hands, and they are surrounded by symbols of water, fire and earth. The hands reach toward a plant growing near the top, away from the snake carved at the foot of the stone. This composition could symbolize a turning from evil, a yearning for growth, fertility and life, and perhaps the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The significance of these works lies in their use of natural elements like water and plants.

He abandons small carved stones on the riverbank. He leaves his contact numbers and website address ( on these stones, yet has no inclination to disclose their exact whereabouts. What he intends is for the spectator searching for the artwork to perhaps discover something more valuable than his stones in nature. He then considers himself a partner in the spectatorís findings.

But not all of the work is in a small scale. One of his largest works, a rock about three meters long, shows a human figure, respectfully seated before a tree; perhaps the tree of life, or the tree of existence. He has carved various images on the stones lining the ground among the riverbank and houses, near bridges and on garden wallsóa young piper, a womanís face combined with an image of the moon, prints of human feet, birds and snakes, as well as many other abstract motifs. Set along the banks of the Haraz are a number of nets filled with stones, set by the villagers to provide barriers against flooding. Birds have been carved on the stones in these nets, birds that seem to be trapped in their net cages.

Most of the river carvings are fish, scattered across a distance kilometers long. In his childhood, the rivers of Poloor were filled with fish. With the gradual polluting of the waters the fish disappeared. Through his carvings, he wishes to tell us that the river still has fish, though only images remain. The fish is a symbol of life and fertility. Some of the fish are immersed in water, but a greater number are upon the stones that lie in the middle of the river, their bodies only partly under water. The rush of water constantly soaks them, while the bubbling of the river provides a suitable background for viewing the artwork. In spring, the fish are often completely submerged in water, while in summer and autumn they are often entirely dry. This effect is perhaps symbolic of global warming, drought and threats to survival. Yet to him, the fish symbolizes the human souló thirsty to experience life. One of his works at the First Conceptual Art Exhibition at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art was a video of his carvings on the riverbank, emphasizing the role of fish.

Another work by Nadalian at the First Exhibition of Contemporary Art at the Museum was a display of stones arranged on the floor. One of the stones was a natural formation with a stone globe inside, upon which the twin fetus had been symmetrically arranged. This work is an extension of his work at the ď+30 Group ExhibitionĒ another take on the myth of Zervan. This time the stone lies within a larger one, with the total arrangement following a straight line.

Ahmad Nadalianís works are based in primitive art. He concentrates upon the ancient concepts and methods that are slowly vanishing. His choice of stone as a medium, and his technique, are in accordance with ancient traditions. Yet he does not attempt to give a primitive appearance to his art. His technique is different from ancient approaches. He displays his work in nature, on the ground. The presence of newborns in his work testifies to his interests; he is drawn not only to the past, but also to the future. His only concern is that humanity, at present or in the future, may be less in harmony with the past, and with the earth and heavens.

Contact: Dr. A. Nadalian†

Cellular Telephone: ++(98)†† -2003 †© All rights reserved

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