News Iran

Surprising Tehran show of art inspired by the Stations of the Cross

Günther Uecker exhibition will focus on human rights abuses

Günther Uecker

In a surprise move, an exhibition focusing on human rights abuses is due to open at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art next month. The show, dedicated to the German sculptor and kinetic artist Günther Uecker, includes 14 works from the series "The Human Abused: 14 Pacified Implements", which was commissioned in 1992 by the Berlin-based Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IFA), a cultural organisation funded by the German government. The use of violence against foreigners based in Germany prompted Uecker to make the Arte Povera-esque works, incorporating materials such as nails, stones and ash.

"In these works, [Uecker] expresses his visions of life and life's suffering and tries to reveal, in his sensitive setting of signs, basic human drives: aggression, injury, destruction, setting against them gestures of reconciliation," says the institute's website, adding that the "injury of human being by human being" is the focus of the series. The works are based on the Stations of the Cross. These elements of Christian iconography may, however, raise eyebrows in the Iranian capital.

The exhibition (16 September-31 October) is also due to include 88 works provided by the artist who joined the Zero Group in 1961, an avant-garde Düsseldorf-based collective that declared art should be ultra minimalist, starting from "point zero". The show is funded by IFA, the German Embassy, the Goethe-Institut and the German publishing company Geuer & Breckner.

The Uecker exhibition is the latest in a series of shows devoted to German modern and contemporary artists to be held at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. In 2008, for instance, the Iranian authorities held an exhibition of works by the late expressionist artists Käthe Kollwitz and Ernst Barlach at the museum.

More from The Art Newspaper


14 Aug 12
14:50 CET


Uecker has always been 'avant garde' - maybe his art can influence their thinking in Iran.

10 Aug 12
16:19 CET


as former director of the Groninger Museum and chairman of Amnesty International Netherlands I am enthusiastic about the suprising show in Teheran...I hope there will be a Museum in Europe who will take over the show.....a must seen for everyone..!!

Submit a comment

All comments are moderated. If you would like your comment to be approved, please use your real name, not a pseudonym. We ask for your email address in case we wish to contact you - it will not be made public and we do not use it for any other purpose.


Want to write a longer comment to this article? Email


Share this