Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker (July 8 – September 23, 2007)

An exhibition of photographs by world-renowned Iranian filmmaker, photographer, and poet Abbas Kiarostami.

Berkeley, CA, May 15, 2007 - The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is proud to present Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker,
an exhibition of photographs by one of the world's most critically acclaimed film directors. The exhibition features four series of photographs, including two series never previously exhibited on the West Coast. The exhibition accompanies a major series of Kiarostami's films at the Pacific Film Archive, beginning July 7 and continuing through August 30. Together, the exhibition and film series provide an unusually rich and comprehensive presentation of Kiarostami's work. Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker will be on view at the Berkeley Art Museum from July 8 through September 23, 2007.

"One single picture could be the mother of cinema," Kiarostami has said. "That's where cinema starts, with one single picture." A sense of minimalism permeates all of Kiarostami's work, including his photographs and films as well as his writing (Kiarostami is a published poet, as well as a painter and illustrator). Concurrent with his international acclaim as a filmmaker, Kiarostami has pursued a passion for photography since the 1980s, at the time of the Iranian revolution. He regards photography as a more pure medium than film, since it is relieved of the burden of narrative or entertainment, and in each photograph he sets out to distill the image to its barest essence.

Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker features works from four different series: Rain (2006) and Trees and Crows (2006), both of which were shown for the first time at P.S.1 in New York in spring 2006; Roads and Trees and Snow White (both 1978 – 2003).

The seven color prints in the series Rain were taken by the artist through the windshield of his car, with everything but the raindrops on his windshield in focus. Kiarostami has described his car as his "best friend," for its function as his office, a comfortable space, and a location for contemplation. In his films, the protagonist is often behind the wheel of a car or filmed from above while driving on windy roads on the outskirts of town.

The photographs in Trees and Crows, also in color, feature serene, linear compositions of trees in various settings interrupted by the appearance of a bird or birds. Trees are a persistent theme in all of Kiarostami's work, be they stately and majestic or precarious survivors in an inhospitable environment. For the artist they symbolize endurance and adaptability. Both of these photographic series are being seen for the first time on the West Coast.

The nineteen black-and-white photographs in the series Roads and Trees and Snow White are mostly landscape shots for which the artist has already received widespread acclaim. In Roads and Trees, roads traverse barren, mostly unpeopled landscapes. Snow White explores the single motif of trees silhouetted starkly against blank white snow in images that are both stark and sublime.

Also included in the exhibition is the video installation Summer Afternoon (2006), an interior scene that depicts shadows dancing against a curtained window. The breeze from a fan positioned behind the viewer adds another experiential dimension, as if the viewer is actually standing at the window itself.

PFA Film Series

Kiarostami, like Fellini, Godard or Kurosawa, is a director whose films have given new direction to world cinema. Beginning July 7 and running through August 30, Pacific Film Archive will present a retrospective of Kiarostami's films, featuring sixteen features and a wide selection of short films spanning his remarkable and influential career.

Kiarostami honed his craft as a documentary filmmaker concerned with the lives of children in Iran, and later gained a following in the West with a series of remarkable films that were at once documentary and fiction, "real" and created (And Life Goes On, Close-Up, Through The Olive Trees, and Where Is The Friend's Home?). Kiarostami solidified his standing by winning the 1997 Cannes Palme d'Or for Taste of Cherry, and with The Wind Will Carry Us, which was awarded the Grand Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1999. Starting with the barest of scripts, and improvising specifics with his nonprofessional casts, Kiarostami crafts fictions that are barely removed from real life, works of deceptive simplicity and indefinable poetry that philosophize on how we film reality, view reality, and most of all, how we understand reality.

To learn more about the film series at the Pacific Film Archive, please contact Shelley Diekman, PFA Publicist, at, or (510) 642-0365.


The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum's collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.

Credit Line

Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker is co-presented by The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, in collaboration with the Iranian Art Foundation.

The film series Abbas Kiarostami: Image Maker was curated by Jytte Jensen, curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and coordinated at the Pacific Film Archive by Kathy Geritz. The series was originally co-organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, in collaboration with the Iranian Art Foundation. We are grateful for the cooperation of Kanoon (Tehran), Farabi (Tehran), MK2 (Paris), Zeitgeist Films, New Yorker Films, and Miramax Films. We would like to extend our gratitude to Jytte Jensen (MoMA), Maryam Bafekrpour (Kanoon), Ian Birnie (LACMA), Maryam Horri (Iranian Art Foundation), and Ahmad Kiarostami, without whose generous support and assistance this series would not have been possible.

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, the William H. Donner Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Gap Inc., other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.

Museum Information

Location: 2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus.

Gallery and Museum Store Hours:
Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, 11 to 5; Thursday, 11 to 7. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

General admission is $8; admission for seniors, disabled persons, non–UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13 – 17) is $5; admission for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, and children under 12 is free; admission for group tours is $3 per person (to arrange a group tour, call [510] 642-5188). Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.

24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.



Posted by admin on May 15, 2007