Exposition Art Blog: Manoucher Yektai - Abstract Expressionism

Manoucher Yektai - Abstract Expressionism

 Manoucher Yektai (born December 22, 1921) is an Iranian American artist who belongs to the school of New York School Abstract Expressionist.
"Manoucher Yektai’s life has brought him through three cultures: Iran, France, the United States. This trajectory can be seen as a search for Modernism, and for a participation in Modernism, indeed, for a home in it. For a painter, the itinerary seems clear in its meaning: from Iran where, under Islamic strictures about imagery, free artistic expression was not available, first (with a brief pause in New York) to the ripe ambience of the School of Paris, then (more permanently) to the fledgling excitement of the emerging New York School.
But Yektai's development, seen in a larger frame, has not been entirely simple and linear. His trajectory through three cultures seems nomadic, and his identification with Modern New York seems an acceptance of hybridity in the post-Modernist sense; but at the same time, in a kind of artistic double life, he has been careful to maintain his rootedness directly in Persian culture. While he paints in a Modern Western style and is known as an embodiment of the idea of absolute freedom of expression as in Action Painting, still, with another part of his mind, or his heritage, he writes, in the Persian language, long poems which, while they share a sense of mysticism with Rumi, are modern free verse. .....In his insistence on at least residual figuration in even his most abstract works, Yektai retained awareness of what deKooning referred to when he said, about the origin of abstraction: "One day some painter used 'Abstraction' as a title for one of his paintings. It was a still life. And it was a very tricky title."6 For Yektai also it was obvious that gestural abstraction was rising out of the still life in a lineage that went back to Cezanne, and he did not wish to disguise this fact in his work. Yet in his paint-handling and his feelings toward painting as a medium he definitely shared a lot with the mainstream Abstract-Expressionists. Ashbery remarked that Yektai's work was "only superficially similar" to Abstract Expressionism,7 but the question whether paint handling is really a superficial issue in this art historical context remains open. "I must be some kind of Action Painter," Yektai acknowledges, in addressing the question. He has always felt a change of state, into something like the absorption of sex, while engrossed in painting, and all through his student years he had painted instinctively and with the canvas flat on the floor long before he had heard of Pollock's practice. "(yektai.com)

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