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The Aga Khan Museum Opens its Doors to Abbas Kiarostami


Aga Khan Museum Abbas Kiarostami Doors Without Keys Toronto

photo: Craig Moy

NOVEMBER 21 TO MARCH 27 To Westerners, Abbas Kiarostami is perhaps best known as the Iranian director of festival-circuit films—the layered, deeply contemplative character studies that win awards at Cannes, Venice and elsewhere. Yet his creative practice is as multifaceted as it is prolific. On the cinematic side, he’s also an editor, screenwriter and producer; off screen he’s a respected poet as well as a widely exhibited photographer. It’s Kiarostami the image-maker who’s responsible for “Doors Without Keys,” the first solo-artist show presented by the Aga Khan Museum. The world-premiere installation turns the exhibition space into a maze of closed doors—shot over two decades in France, Morocca, Italy and Iran and printed at life size—that are aesthetically beautiful, but which also contain the mysteries of the unseen. “What lies behind these doors? What have they witnessed, and why are they locked?” the curatorial literature asks. Are they barriers, or do they offer hope of entry? The answers, of course, are for each of us to imagine.

Just as Kiarostami’s doors encourage us to fashion new narratives and find unexpected meanings, so too do his films challenge us to arrive at our own conclusions. Many of these unique cinematic works will also be shown as part of the Aga Khan Museum’s Kiarostami programming—some on a loop, in an exclusive space adjacent to the exhibition, and others as singular screenings in the museum’s auditorium. Among the offerings? The complex Close-Up, Palme d’Or–winning Taste of Cherry, and Where is the Friend’s Home?, the 1987 film that prompted Kiarostami to begin his two-decade photographic study of doors.  —Craig Moy

• Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4677; agakhanmuseum.org
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