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Kiarostami forest at the V&A

LONDON, UK.- Abbas Kiarostami will transform one of the V&A's galleries into a forest this spring as part of the festival celebrating the work of the Iranian artist and filmmaker. Kiarostami will also be 'In Conversation' with British film director, Mike Leigh, at the V&A.

Abbas Kiarostami is the most internationally celebrated Iranian cultural figure of the past century. A prolific and critically-acclaimed filmmaker, artist, photographer and poet, his work is visually simple and conceptually complex.

The V&A will show new works by Kiarostami as part of a London-wide programme of events celebrating the achievements of the artist and his impact on contemporary culture and society both inside and outside Iran.

Trees without leaves (3 May - 5 June) Installation - free admission Created especially for the V&A, the installation will show a three dimensional forest of trees. Huge hollow tubes will be completely covered by life size photographs of tree bark. The installation is part of long term investigation by Kiarostami into the ways that we see our surroundings. He believes that we have become accustomed to look at nature with care only once it has been framed and placed in a museum environment.

Ta'ziyeh (1-8 May) Installation - ticketed £8 (£6 conc, £5 students) The Ta'ziyeh is one of the few surviving forms of popular traditional theatre generated by the Islamic world, and at first it seems an unusual choice for a director whose other work is simple and non-dramatic. The passion play will be shown on a large television. Behind the television will be two large screens on which visitors can see the faces of the Iranian audience watching a previous performance of Kiarostami's Ta'ziyeh. The piece shows the strong link between the audience and the event, central to the Ta'ziyeh tradition. The films of the audiences are recorded in rural villages where the Ta'ziyeh tradition is strongest.

Trees in Snow - free admission - Throughout the festival, the V&A's Photography gallery will show a small display of photographs from Trees in Snow. This is the first display of Abbas Kiarostami's photographs in the UK. For 25 years he has recorded the growth of saplings to trees, stripped bare in white landscapes. His photographs achieve their impact without the use of intricate lighting techniques or sophisticated equipment. Through their simplicity, his images invite the viewer to re-discover the art in nature and the splendour of its palette and compositions.

In Conversation - ticketed - £15 (£12 conc, £8 students) - Sunday 1 May: Abbas Kiarostami, Time Out's Geoff Andrew and Dr Ahmad Karimi Hakkak discuss Abbas Kiarostami's Ta'ziyeh and other aspects of the artist's work. Sunday 8 May: Abbas Kiarostami, Mike Leigh, the celebrated British film director, and London Film School's Ben Gibson will discuss the cinematic work and the directorial approaches of the two directors.

Conference – ticketed - Abbas Kiarostami: Image, Voice and Vision will be held at the V&A from 29 April-1 May. The conference will explore all of Kiarostami's work from his films to his poetry.

The festival of Abbas Kiarostami's work aims to raise awareness of the dynamics of cultural creativity in today's Iran and is organised by the Iran Heritage Foundation, as part of their tenth anniversary celebrations. Film seasons, exhibitions, installations, publications, a film workshop and interviews will be presented as part of the London-wide festival.

Other institutions participating in the festival are: BFI Publications, Channel 4, the French Institute, the London Film School, the National Film Theatre, Saqi Books and the Zelda Cheatle Gallery. Details of the festival can be found at

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