Since Monaco shifted the Monte-Carlo Art Fair from May to July there has been a fast-growing art scene that includes Monaco Art week that runs from July 4 until July 9 at the Grimaldi Forum.
While many galleries in art centres like Paris, New York and London enjoy a summer lull in their activities, Monaco gears up for a full schedule of diverse art events. This is a clever strategy as many art lovers head for the Riviera and their summer breaks and are drawn to the magical intersection of Art and Monaco.
Last week one of the oldest galleries in Monaco, Gallery Kamil, founded in 1976, opened a new solo exhibition Last Ceremony of Iranian emergent artist Ramtin Zad. Situated at ave. Princesse Grace facing the Japanese Garden, this is a big gallery perfect for big works but with an intimacy sufficient to show the smaller pieces that suit the modern walls of apartments where space is at a premium.
This is a second exhibition of this artist in Monaco, the last one was being in 2018 at the same gallery. Zad’s works blurs animals and people in indistinct yet almost recognisable settings with flowing pastel and saturated colored montages reminiscent of pre-Raphaelite composition coupled with the nouveau-impressionist flourish of Peter Doig.
The current exhibition has a heavy social and political accent, wrapped up in metaphor and parody, featuring pigs, zebras and donkeys playing human roles in set pieces referencing classical works of baptism, funeral, parade and even dance. Many pieces seem to pay homage yet refute famous old masters of the past.
Themes of death in the European tradition seem to fascinate the artist, with many works inspired by the cathedral sarcophaguses of medieval knights set against the backdrop of the Black Death and its ceremonies. The use of colour and its laying down with swirling, cloudy fogginess bring up echoes of the likes of El Greco, Francis Bacon and the aforementioned contemporary Peter Doig.
Ramtin Zad, born in 1984, lives and works in Tehran and London. He states that nature is a “number one source of inspiration”, he is trying to morph the harsh and aggressive nature of modern city life by using mythical and fabulous characters in his visual storytelling.
The show is coordinated by London art curator Fereshte Moosavi who has cleverly assembled a diverse collection of Zad’s work, showcasing a diversity of media, technique and size, with work ranging through large scale vibrant acrylic paintings, drawing studies, video art and sculptures.
The exhibition is open until June 26 at Gallery Kamil, 3 ave. Princesse Grace, Monaco.
This article is co-written by Monaco artists Zoia Skoropadenko and Clem Chambers. They exhibit together internationally and you can see their work at themeloy.com online gallery. You can reach them at email@example.com