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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 January, 2004, 10:28 GMT
British art show debuts in Iran
Damien Hirst
Damien Hirst's new piece Resurrection will debut in Tehran
The British Council has helped set up the first exhibition of British art to be seen in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

The exhibition will open in the capital Tehran on 24 February, marking the 25th anniversary of the revolution.

Much of the work featured traces the development of British sculpture over the last century.

The exhibition includes Damien Hirst's never-before-seen Resurrection and work by Gilbert and George and Henry Moore.

The exhibition will be held at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, and will also feature works Barbara Hepworth, Eduardo Paolozzi, Anthony Caro, Barry Flanagan, and Bill Woodrow.

This is a really important moment in the history of modern Iran
Andrea Rose, British Council
There will also be a four-screen video installation called Breath by the Iranian-born artist Shirazeh Houshiary, featuring scenes of devotion from four different religions, including Judaism.

Andrea Rose, director of visual arts at the British Council, said the Tehran exhibition was not controversial.

She said: "The exhibiting items have been very carefully discussed with Tehran and they only took items that they felt were acceptable there.

"There are some things that you can't show in Islamic countries, like nudity or offending religion, but none of the work does that.

"This is a really important moment in the history of modern Iran - to be doing this exhibition 15 years after a fatwa was put on (author) Salman Rushdie shows it has come an enormous way forward.

"It shows Iran wants to open up dialogue with the West."

Cross-border film

The council is also helping organise the first solo exhibition by artist Rachel Whiteread, who won the Turner Prize in 1993.

Whiteread's exhibition will be held at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Sao Paulo, Brazil, between 18 March and 3 May.

It will include three pieces never seen in public before, as well as documentation on her public sculpture House, which was destroyed in 1993, and on the Holocaust memorial in Vienna's Judenplatz.

The council is also helping artist Catherine Yass make a film in Israel. The cross-border film will be shot from a helicopter crossing the Israel-Gaza Strip border.

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