Late Filmmaker Kiarostami to Be Commemorated at Art Basel

The late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami
The late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami

The late Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami will be commemorated at this year’s Hong Kong edition of Art Basel, a massive Swiss art fair and one of the premier events of the international art world.

Though the auteur was best known for his work in cinema, he was also active in other media ranging from poetry to installation art.

This year, Art Basel: Hong Kong is going to exhibit Kiarostami’s final photography series.

When Kiarostami passed away on July 4 of last year, he left an unfillable void in the film community. In his self-conscious manipulation of and inquiry into the thin line separating documentary from fiction, the filmmaker demonstrated a profound understanding of the limits and potential of cinema as both a form of artistic expression and a mode of social and political engagement.

Normally, such self-reflexivity creates distance between the viewer and the characters/documentary subjects, but with Kiarostami, the opposite occurs. By foregrounding the camera’s role in helping us know the characters and identify with them, Kiarostami reveals his filmmaking to be an active attempt at empathy, and invites us to respond with similar compassion.

Through his work, Kiarostami has touched so many people. It only feels right that he will be commemorated at an art event as high-profile as Art Basel.

Art Basel: Hong Kong will run from March 23-25, Variety

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