The Art Newspaper reported today that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye is in the process of restoring five mansions in Kashan, a city located in the Iranian desert, in order to open a 2,953-square-foot gallery in one of them. Here, he plans to show his artwork alongside exhibitions of work by international, especially Iranian, artists.
Delvoye is additionally planning to relocate his studio to Iran, where he has work on view at Tehran’s Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art. Delvoye is quoted as saying, “I’m not going to live forever. Giving back means giving something to the art world, supporting the local art scene. I buy a lot of Iranian art. I have [work by] young artists.”
Delvoye has already hired over 20 people to work on the project. The article reports that that “the project could see him open a Belgian restaurant serving vegetarian cuisine” and that “Delvoye appears to be driven by some bitterness towards the Belgian tax authorities.” Delvoye’s previous attempt to open a sculpture park, which involved the purchase of a small castle near Ghent, failed after the artist was fined €45,000 ($50,900).
The article brings to mind the new American travel restrictions that now require foreigners visiting Iran to obtain visas. Delvoye apparently recently asked David Hammons to visit him in Iran, to which the artist replied that he “will need some convincing.”