Book retracing the influence of Hafez on Goethe, Uecker presented at the Frankfurt fair

TEHRAN – A book studying the influence of the Persian poet Hafez on the German poet Goethe and his fellow artist Gunther Uecker 200 years later was presented on Saturday at a special session at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Published in German by the Goethe Museum Dusseldorf in 2020, the book “Orient und Okzident Sind Nicht Mehr zu Trennen: Uecker, Hafis, Goethe” (“East and West can no longer be separated: Uecker, Hafez, Goethe” ) was written by Barbara von Steingießer.

A group of German and Iranian scholars and artists attended the session which was held at the Iran Pavilion at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

The session was organized by the Iranian House of Book and Literature and the Organization for Islamic Culture and Relations in collaboration with the Goethe Museum in Düsseldorf.

“Poetry can be so powerful that it almost inevitably inspires other artists to create their own work, beyond geographic, historical and cultural boundaries,” says an introduction to the book.

“When Gunther Uecker says, ‘As soon as I read I also have to paint” and Goethe explains, “I had to react productively because otherwise I could not have stood before the mighty apparition”, both refer at the same job.

“Both the Weimar classic and the contemporary artist could not escape the creative energy of the poems from the couch by the 14th-century Persian poet Hafez. On the contrary, one and then the other entered a creative frenzy through reading. Thus was born the West-Eastern Divan, Goethe’s greatest collection of poems, and 200 years later Uecker’s homage to Hafez, a cycle of 42 prints.

“Inspired by the richness of the imagery of the Persian poet’s more than 650-year-old poems, Uecker combines his handwriting with luminous paintings in a lively dance. “

Since 2016, the sculptor and artist op Uecker has exhibited his works in an exhibition entitled “Tribute to Hafez”, which covers all regions of Iran.

The renamed exhibition “East and West Can No Longer Be Separated: Uecker, Hafez, Goethe” was organized at the Goethe Museum Düsseldorf in 2020.

“Homage to Hafez” was inspired by the ghazals of the Persian poet Hafez. Uecker has created a collection of graphic works, in which ghazals are transformed into color and the sound of poems into written images.

This method of translating spoken language into pictorial expressions has characterized the artist’s work since the 1970s.

Uecker is a member of the ZERO movement, best known for its characteristic use of nails arranged in tactile and sculptural paintings.

His work includes paintings, works of art and installations as well as scenographies and films. He was primarily interested in the Eastern European avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s, but he was also fascinated by Asian cultures and their ideas.

Uecker’s works can be seen in collections and at major fairs in both West and East. His artistic creativity reached its peak in 2000 with the prayer hall he designed for the reconstructed Reichstag building in Berlin.

Photo: A copy of the book “Orient und Okzident Sind Nicht Mehr zu Trennen: Uecker, Hafis, Goethe”.


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