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The magma verse

In my little childhood memory there is the desert, the walls, alleys and mud houses

Verona, Tehran

Engineer and sculptor

Verona - Tehran

Ehsan Shayegh

I come from a thousand nested corridors  

in search of light  

I come from the most mysterious point in the universe, 

Not from the higher world, but from a place beneath your feet  

From hell, from the lower world  

But today I am the most stationary fluid  

I haven't slept with anyone and I look so naked, bare and empty. 

I have known pottery for several years, because of the geography where I was born, my childhood games were water and clay, which I instinctively made and dried by my window. In my little childhood memory is the desert, the walls, alleys and mud houses. Many years have passed since I migrated to the capital, and still my play is with water and clay. The only difference between my childhood play and today's play is that instead of creating animals and shapes, I now devote myself through clay to defending the Earth, and I have vowed to engage and try to address the problems of the planet, especially climate change.  

            Ceramics is composed of four natural elements and I find it the best material to express myself today, and the teachings of the ancestors of my land, such as Mithras and Zarathustra, will illuminate my path. The phenomenon of climate change and warming affect many aspects of human life. Climate phenomena such as floods, droughts and hurricanes are now increasingly present in every corner of the globe and have become a daily threat to the production and equitable distribution of food, water resources and health, as well as causing negative economic changes and social problems.               

          In the past, climate change changed the pattern of human life, but today human activities have caused enormous transformations on the world climate. Climate change is one of the challenges facing humanity in the 21st century and poses a potential threat to natural and man-made environments. 

In the past, respect for nature was part of faith as the fruit of the omnipotence of creation and thus support and respect for humanity. 

Philosophy and art were formed through the philosophers of the past, who lived in close contact with nature and the gods.

 Their cosmological insights formed the trilogy man, nature, divinity. The main factor of any human work and civilization is the human being, a work that is the manifestation of his opinions and ideas. In addition to man, the category of communications with laws, rules, customs, manners, behaviors and ethics regulate the relations between man and work, nature and existence, in the different spiritual and material spheres of life. Finally, the body in addition to specific environmental, economic, technical, scientific and artistic conditions is influenced by two other factors. In fact, besides the objective and spatial profile, every human work has an intellectual and ideological aspect and a moral aspect. So I always started from my origin and Zarathustra or god of fire. He is a philosopher/prophet of ancient Iran whose thoughts had a great impact on the formation of moral standards, drawing the boundaries of good and evil and the foundations of Western philosophy. Zarathustra, commonly known as the prophet of Iranians, is one of the prominent readings in the history of ancient Iran.  

What Zoroastrianism teaches about ecology: Zoroastrianism claims to be the oldest religion in the world, and also the first cult to support ecology through care of the elements and the earth. 

The faith of Zoroastrianism not only commands the thoughtful care of the physical world but with it also seeks spiritual salvation. Human beings, as God's most important creatures, are considered the natural "motivators" and overseers of the Seven Creations. As the only conscious creation, humanity's first task is to care for the universe. This faith advocates caring for the Seven Creations (sky, water, earth, plants, animals, human creatures and fire) as part of a symbiotic relationship. Zoroastrianism regards the physical world as a natural matrix of the Seven Creations in which life and growth are interdependent if harmony and perfection are to be the ultimate goal.  

Purity: The sacredness of creations demands the greatest awareness on the part of the Zoroastrian to deliver, at the end of human time, to Ahura Mazda the world in its perfect and original state. As an example of this concept of sacredness, it is a tradition that every Zoroastrian never enters a river to wash or pollute it in any way. The purity of nature, in his tradition, is seen as the greatest good. 

The Crisis: Zoroastrians in India recall in their traditional history how, at one time, Mother Earth was in danger, and she asked the God Ahura Mazda if he could send her a prince with warriors, to forcibly stop those who wanted to harm her. Ahura Mazda said he would send a holy man who would use only words and convincing ideas; thus the prophet Zoroaster was born. 

Attention to the elements of water, earth, air and fire in traditional Iranian architecture, as well as in Iranian gardens, has existed for a long time. The natural elements given the most attention in Iranian gardens include water, earth, air, light, animals, plants as well as mountains and sky, and all must coexist in perfect harmony with each other.

The Lost Geography 

Life has always been ahead of art. The artist is but a recorder of events, working on their social, political, cultural or environmental implications. Precisely the environmental issue is today a factor of concern for humanity, the creator of an age "in its own image," already in the literal definition of the Anthropocene. 

For me, an Iranian, from the land of Zoroaster and Cyrus, with clay soil and now largely parched ... desertified, topics such as global warming and drought imply a significant influence on artistic research, precisely because of that link between life and art that I mentioned. 

Sometimes ceramics is asked to play roles that are not its own. Interestingly, it is easy to leave marks and embroideries that are loaded with the most diverse valences: semantic, technical and functional, without with that losing the essence of the material. In fact, clay, that which builds the desert, is that element that can be laid on volcanic stone, until it takes on the appearance of a black hole or a bowl without water. 

In the exhibition "The Geography of Living," I displayed two pieces of volcanic stone by placing them at a distance, but in such a way that they were in dialogue with each other. 

I titled the exhibition "The Geography of Living," because one of the stones was placed high up and the other on the ground. But it is the lava stone itself that gives the idea of an earthly black hole: image of the sky reflected on the earth or geography of the earth in the sky... I was inspired by the Persian philosopher Mirfenderesky who lived in the 16th century and was looking for an earthly image capable of replicating what appears in the firmament: an authentic earthly image of black holes. Well, the pumice stone in its thousand perforations is precisely a journey through the black hole, a journey to which I entrust the thousand memories of my past history... 

The geography of living

 Lava stone, an earthly black hole 

The image of heaven reflected on earth 

O The geography of the earth in the sky!!! 

One sitting on the ground and the other standing in the sky.  

Working with lava stone, I always remember the black holes and feel a foreign feeling of familiarity and affinity between them. Well I entrust my amnesia to the thousand holes in the stone that is filled with memories of past history....

 In the image of the detail from Raphael's School of Athens below, the Iranian prophet Zoroaster, has the likeness of Baldassarre Castiglione and is depicted holding a celestial globe in his hand as he is believed to be the founder of astronomy, and author of the Chaldaean Oracles.



In continuity with the theme of Matres edition 2022 "Naturantis," addressed in various aspects throughout the Festival program and also during the panel discussion: "STYLE INVERSIONS BETWEEN GREEN, TRADITION AND DESIGNER" held.   August 27, 2022, at the Monumental Complex of S. Giovanni- Cava de'Tirreni (SA), the work of Iranian artist Ehsan Shayegh is proposed.

A personal work with strong emotional appeal, where clay and even lava stone are the means of communicating and conveying through artistic practice, the no-longer-postponable need for everyone's first-person engagement in trying to address the problems of the planet and ongoing climate change. The 'artist presented one of his works - the geography of living- also at the group show "Symbola - signs of identity in women's ceramics from Italy to Havana" for the Matres Havana Festival 2023.



Niavaran Desert

Detail of the "School of Athens" Raphael Sanzio: Zarathustra- Vatican Museums Rome

Photo credit wikipedia- School of Athens

Installation for the water land line project 2019

 Park of Villa Buri - Verona Italy 

Installation 2016

Niavaran Cultural Center - Tehran Iran

40 sq. m.

Edited by Bita Fayezi

 Italian Lessons 2021 - installation 

La Giarina, Gallery of Contemporary Art - Verona Italy 

QANAT 2022- Installation 

Azad Art Gallery - Tehran Iran

370 x 280 x 30 cm. n.37 pieces  

Enamel on volcanic stone

There is no more horizon 2020 - installation 

 La Giarina, Gallery of Contemporary Art - Verona Italy 

300 x 700 cm. 

Crete, sand

Edited by Luigi Meneghelli






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