8, place de la Roncerale

Mahmoud Zenderoudi, better known in Europe as Zende, was born in Iran in 1943. Painting was his passion but for the sake of artistic advancement and sustained income for his family be made Journalism his profession.

To preserve his independence in both these lines, he was compelled to leave Iran in 1978 after political upheavals rocked his country. He emigrated to France and has lived in Montpellier ever since.

While in exile, he drew inspiration from the rich and ancient treasures of artistic forms of Persia developed and refined over six millennia.

In the first phase of his artistic efforts in Iran, Zende created colorful calligraphy on large formats. The complex combination of calligraphy and color backdrop he produced reflected the complexity, yet durability, of the social fabric of his home country.

The second phase of Zende's artistic activity in exile was a creative exercise in artistic freedom. He created new forms and patterns. He experimented with plaster forms and integrated wood, mirror, metal and cardboard into paintings.

In the third phase of his artistic endeavor, Zende created fantastic forms out of paper and cardboard pulp, which he etched and gilded. This style has been aptly termed "Zende papier" (live paper).

More recently Zende has embarked on a new style. He blows new life into old books and bound manuscripts with "live paper" which he weaves into the pages and leather covers of the books. The illumination recovers the old grandeur of classic works.

Zende's art has pursued a mission: to fight back against the sectarian vengeance and "book burning" tendencies of fanatics and other enemies of arts and culture -- in this case, the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Persia.