ISSN: 2717-4417

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Handicrafts, Faculty of Art & Humanities, University of Shahrekord, Farsan, Iran.

2 Department of Urban Planning, Faculty of Architecture & Urban Planning, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Department of Handicrafts, Faculty of Handicrafts, Art University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.




Artworks concerning frontages as media of communication among the artwork, the artist, and the public and frameworks for interaction with locations
Common viewpoint held by untrained observers (citizens), trained observers (visual art specialists), and creators (artists) in the appraisal of the perceptual-visual desirability of murals
Closeness of the citizens’ and artists’ attitudes toward the appraisal of the perceptual-visual desirability of murals
Citizens’ greater appreciation of the use of creative designs with rhythms and formal contrasts in the appraisal of the perceptual-visual desirability of murals 

As subway stations are regarded as public spaces in cities, their frontages, involving public artworks, especially murals, are taken into account as part of the urban townscape. The artworks on frontages can provide a medium for interaction, functioning as a visual communication system among the artwork, the artist, and the public. Therefore, it is important to identifying the factors influencing the visual preferences of the audience. The aim of this paper is to investigate the effect of the visual elements of murals on the perceptual-visual desirability of frontages at the Tehran Theater subway station. It seeks to answer the question of how the visual elements of the murals at the station affect the perceptual-visual desirability of the station frontage.
Theoretical Framework
Among the large number of visual components assumed by various theorists, the main common components taken into account is this research include color, shape, texture, line, tonality, and light  (Jansen, 1998: 69). This study investigates element quality, the quality of the relationship between elements, and that for figures and the ground (Pakzad, 2006) to achieve the degree of visual desirability in response to questions about the aesthetic component and the scape quality. The element quality is mural, and the relationship between the murals is considered for appraisal of the quality of the relationship between the elements. Moreover, the relationship between the mural and the wall is considered for appraisal of the quality of the relationship between the figure and the ground. The components related to the quality of the element include intensity, tension, and ingravibility, those pertaining to the quality of the relationship between the elements include balance, symmetry, proportion, dominance, clarity, and density. The components concerning the quality of the relationship between a particular element and others (figure and ground) include contrast, opposition, conformity, advantage, hindrance, emphasis, enclosure, narrowness, openness, sequence, and concentration (ibid.: 121-136)
For achievement of the research aim, a mixed method was adopted based on data collection through archives, observations, interviews, and visual preference techniques. Among different cities, Tehran was selected due to its position, and the Tehran Theater subway station was chosen among different stations because of its location in the proximity of Vali-asr Street, Tehran Theater, and Daneshju Park. Then, nine murals were selected from among those available at the station. Given the nature of the data, the methods of regression analysis and correlation analysis were used along with SPSS techniques for analysis of the collected data.
Result and Discussion
The results indicated that perceptual-visual desirability existed in all the three groups: untrained observers (citizens), trained supervisors (visual art experts) and creators of artworks (artists). The findings also demonstrated that tonality (degree of darkness/brightness), shape (design), color, line, and texture exhibited the greatest impacts on perceptual-visual desirability, in that order. The elements of shape, color, tonality, line, and texture played the greatest roles, in order of priority, in the perceptual-visual utility of the station frontage for the citizens, the elements of tonality, shape, line, texture, and color for the specialists, and shape and tonality, color, and line and texture for the artists. The most important reasons for these differences follow. The main reason why tonality was selected as the first priority by the three information sources is the community’s need to observe color diversity at different levels of the society. Unfortunately, this field has been neglected for years. However, its negative effects, such as the increase in the number of patients with depression, are evident. The second priority involved the designs and patterns used in the murals, which demonstrated the significance of form and content and of the choice of subject and consideration of the aspects of visual beauty. In the studied cases, the messages and feelings that the artist tried to convey to the audience had a negative impact on citizens’ perception although understood to a large extent by the audience, as the predicted lighting was not considered properly, the mural lights were used only occasionally, and inappropriate accessions led to visual disturbance.
The results indicated perceptual-visual desirability in all the three groups of untrained observers (citizens), trained observers (visual art specialists), and creators (artists). Furthermore, the citizens’ and artists’ opinions were close to each other. The citizens appreciated the use of creative designs with rhythms and formal contrasts, being satisfied both with the location of the murals in terms of visibility and view-shed and with their association with the frontages, but not with the lighting of the works. These were identified as the main perceptual-visual desirability factors in the studied samples.


Main Subjects

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