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Hossein Valamanesh

The lover circles his own heart 1993

Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with the assistance of Gene and Brian Sherman , Reg and Sally Richardson and the artist, 2005

silk, electric motor, foam, brass rod, stainless steel cable, wood, poem

H 210 W 210 D 210cm
H 49 W 18cm

About the Artwork

Hossein Valamanesh

Born 1949 Tehran, Iran. Lives and works Adelaide.

The lover circles his own heart 1993
silk, electric motor, foam, brass rod, stainless steel cable, wood
approx 210.0 × 210.0 × 210.0 cm
Museum of Contemporary Art, purchased with the assistance of Reg and Sally Richardson, the Sherman Foundation and the artist, 2005

Hossein Valamanesh emigrated from Iran to Australia in 1973. He had graduated from the School of Fine Art and Painting in Tehran in 1970 and once in Australia began further studies, graduating in 1977 from the South Australian School of Art. Valamanesh’s work is influenced by his position as an Iranian-born Australian and deals with the common ground between cultures as well as aspects of displacement and travel. Philosophy and spirituality are also essential to his work, particularly the poetry and traditions of Sufism.

Through his installation The lover circles his own heart, Valamanesh creates a space to consider and express that which is inexpressible. Drawing influence from the whirling dervishes and taking the title directly from the work of 13th century Sufi poet Rumi, this piece is beautifully contemplative. The lover circles his own heart follows the Sufi tradition in seeking to escape logic and embrace love. As the complexity of existence and the all-consuming nature of love are addressed, Valamanesh allows a sense of wonder to be revived and for a time rationality and reason can be suspended as the notions of love without logic and the myth of creation itself are explored.

Artist Statement

The concept of the work connects with Rumi’s poetry, and while I’m interested in the philosophy of Sufism, I don’t follow it as a practice. I find the poetry more inspirational rather than as a guide or philosophy of life. So, although, I am inspired by it and my life is affected by it, I wouldn’t call myself a Sufi or a follower of that teaching.

The poetry describes how everything is in perpetual motion: every atom turns bewildered, every star going around the earth moves and in that sense, the idea of change and time passing is very much part of that concept. And I feel that this is the way we are connected together, that we are not alone in this madness.

The poem alludes to the stars and atoms going around, to a dog circling a table looking for bits of meat that may fall to the ground, and to a lover who circles his own heart. Being an artist you are like a lover – a bit crazy, circling your own heart, with the desire and madness possessing your being.

The poetry of Rumi to which this work alludes, is rich with questions, expanding on the idea of love which, in itself, is not an answer. It’s a question making us wonder what is all this about?

The concept of the work connects with Rumi’s poetry, and while I’m interested in the philosophy of Sufism, I don’t follow it as a practice. I find the poetry more inspirational rather than as a guide or philosophy of life.

Hossein Valamanesh, 2005

Hossein Valamanesh

– About the artist

b.1949

Born 1949 Tehran, Iran. Lives and works Adelaide, South Australia

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