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    In a world of his own
    More on artist and poet Manoucher Yektai

    By A Friend
    September 25, 1998
    The Iranian

    Manoucher Yektai is a loner, if there ever was one. He is extremely purposeful and quiet. He is so intensely in himself that neither his English nor his French could be regarded as languages of a person who has spent over fifty-five years of his life almost exclusively in France and the U.S. His Persian is his own, too.

    It is only in the past thirty years, ever since his first book of poetry was published --- an explosive narration full of sadness and rage against the backwardness and inhumanity of Iranians towards themselves -- that he has unraveled the language that has been brewing in him in his years of solitude. You will find him immaculately dressed and very charming in a quiet way.

    You will not guess that he has been a friend -- an intimate friend -- to the likes of Jackson Pollock. His eyes detect frauds and genuine art. He never subscribed to the suspect values of the Andy Warhols of his time. He's in a world of his own. Living in a Manhattan mansion has not changed one iota of his personality.

    When "Falgoosh" was published thirty years ago, it was suggested to Parviz Sayyad to arrange a public reading of the work. Sayyad turned it into a play , not by re-writing, but simply staging it, and the result was something that has never been equaled on the Iranian stage. That of course was partly the work of the genius that was Sayyad. Peter Brook was knocked out even without having recourse to the full or exact meanings of the lines.

    Then a series of poems flowed from him, like knots from years of long emotional entanglements, suppressions and inner loneliness that were coming out in bruised forms. The words from his emotion-wrapped mental dictionary were out of place.

    His paintings do not follow Art World fashions. Nor are they products of (at best) mediocre or (at worst) imbecilic tendencies to copy. They do not decorate miniature forms or personages of the Shahnameh or Hossein Kord which, along with "Ya Ali"s and the "Foroohar"s pretend to be "assil" and "melli" and such nonsense.

    The younger generation may also want to "discover" two other artists of some great power of imagination. One is Bahman Mohassess (not his cartoonist cousin, Ardeshir). He lives in Rome. The other is Abol Saidi, who lives in Paris. Also, I have not seen much good work -- or perhaps none at all -- from Hoseein Zenderoudi in the past two decades, but the work he had done in the 50's and 60's were quite top notch.

    Click on images below to see larger paintings by Yektai


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