Iran Issa-Khan | Forces of Nature
Dates: 22 December 2021-10 February 2022
Musée Territorial du Wall House; Gustavia, Saint Barthélemy, FWI
The Musée du Wall House and Space Gallery St Barth are proud to present a comprehensive solo exhibition of photography by Iran Issa-Khan. Titled Forces of Nature, this exhibition celebrates the inherent beauty of the natural world which has fascinated the artist and been the focus of her lens for over the last twenty years.
Born in Tehran, Issa-Khan was raised in Iran, Europe, and the United States. The artist began her journey into a career as a professional photographer under the mentorship of William Minor, Jr. in New York City in the 1970s. Talented, spirited and fabulous, surrounded by artists, fashion designers and other creatives, Issa-Khan immersed herself in the art world and admired the photographic works of Horst P. Horst, Richard Avedon, Guy Bourdin and Francesco Scavullo - all of whom later influenced her work as a professional fashion photographer. During the 1980s and 1990s, Issa-Khan’s career flourished as she photographed the most memorable fashion faces of the time. Her work appearing on the covers of US, European and Latin American editions of Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and Elle to name a few.
In 1999, Issa-Khan moved to Coral Gables, Florida to be closer to family and enjoy the warm weather. This move represented a turning point in her trajectory as a fine art photographer. In the Florida tropics, the artist found inspiration in the serene beauty of her natural surroundings. In Force of Nature, she allows the beauty of nature to speak for itself. The artist explains: “There’s a purity to nature that I really love, because the other [portraiture] was a little more fake. You know you have to do makeup, you have to get dressed up, you have to do the whole number. But what comes from the earth, nobody can change it and it’s perfect. That’s why I blow them up so big, because I want people to respect what we’re taking for granted.”
She began photographing flowers, shells, coral, and other products of nature. These images, reminiscent of the works of Georgia O‘Keeffe, Tina Modotti, Irving Penn and Robert Mapplethorpe, daringly challenge her subjects to an extraordinary intimacy through close-up confrontation. Cathy Leff, Director of the Wolfsonian Museum explains: “Issa-Khan turned her eye to the minutiae of nature, a subject not as obviously stunning, but—she would argue—just as beautiful. By playing with tight close-ups, unusual angles, and large formats, Issa-Khan forces the viewer to recognize the grand scale of the natural world, and possibly the scale of the self.” Further observation reveals formal complexity, color and texture, while her master lighting and technical skills from fashion photography clearly translate. Whether subtle, in soft, monochromatic tones, or bold and audacious, in highly saturated colors, all her photographs are captured on film and printed to large scale.
Iran Issa-Khan, now resides in Miami where she has been working on her Nature series for the past twenty years. Considered one of the most important female photographers alongside Annie Liebowitz, her name and talent is internationally renowned. Her work is noted for its deceptive simplicity and elegance. Issa-Khan has exhibited internationally in New York City, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Miami, Palm Beach, and Dubai. Her work is a favorite among art collectors and interior designers and has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar, Veranda, Cultured, Luxe, and Haute Living, to name a few. Iss-Khan is highly revered as her list of accolades and the respect afforded by her peers is testament to the great talent that she is. A special collector’s book celebrating her work capturing the beauty of the natural world has been published with the foreword contributed by the undeniably brilliant architect Zaha Hadid, also a collector of the artist’s work.
Musée Territorial du Wall House
Musée Territorial du Wall House is dedicated to the history of Saint Barthélemy and presents it from geographical and tourist points of view. The building, dating from the 18th century, was completely restored by journeymen in 1995. The ruins of a bread oven can be seen outside the building. The museum brings to life the great hours that presided over the development of the island, through documents and photographs, and an exhibition of period objects and costumes. Temporary exhibitions are held regularly. Past exhibitions at the Musée du Wall House include, Jasper Johns (2014), Francesco Clemente (2015), Ellsworth Kelly and Jack Shear (2016).