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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 February, 2004, 10:36 GMT
Iran welcomes UK art exhibition
Mona Hatoum, Over My Dead Body, 1988-2002. Courtesy of Jay Jopling/White Cube, London. Photo: Oren Slor
Over My Dead Body by Mona Hatoum is in the exhibition
The first exhibition of British art to go on show in Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979 opens on Tuesday.

The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition includes works by many big names of UK art including Damien Hirst, Henry Moore and Gilbert and George.

The gallery hopes the display will "open a new era of cultural and artistic collaborations" between the countries.

Sculptor Bill Woodrow, who is in Tehran, said Iranian art-lovers were "very excited" about seeing the show.

The exhibition focuses on British sculpture and includes Hirst's previously unseen work Resurrection.

Damien Hirst, Dead Ends Died Out, Explored, 1993, Photo courtesy Jay Jopling/White Cube, London
Damien Hirst's Dead Ends Died Out, Explored uses cigarette butts
It will also feature pieces by Woodrow, Barbara Hepworth, Mona Hatoum, Anish Kapoor and Anya Gallaccio.

Woodrow said he expected the crowd to be "a very young audience, and mainly students, as far as I can gather".

"They're very familiar to all this work - but in a second-hand way all from photographs and even from the internet," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"They're very excited about being able to see it now in the flesh, and to see if their ideas match up to the real thing."


The gallery's director Dr Alireza Sami Azar said cultural collaborations had suffered from political tensions between the governments in the past.

"This exhibition will give momentum to further exchanges of cultural projects between the two countries," he told Today.

Political relations between Iran and the UK have warmed in recent years. Prince Charles recently became the first royal visitor since 1975.

The British ambassador in Tehran, Richard Dalton, has welcomed the exhibition as "another step in the growing cultural exchanges between our two countries".

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