• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7477

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    31 October 2007, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 76


    Memories of Destruction: The Years of Fire and Snow

    Price Realised  


    Memories of Destruction: The Years of Fire and Snow
    signed and dated in Farsi (lower left)
    gouache on board
    31½ x 23½in. (80 x 60cm.)
    Painted in 1978

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    In his most famous series entitled Memories of Destruction, Aydeen Aghdashloo uses icons of Italian as well as Persian classical paintings, surbverting them by destroying much of the familiar images through tearing, crumpling, burning and scratching. Typical of the works in this series, in The Years of Fire and Snow of 1978, he bases his work on the principles of Italian Renaissance painting. Aghdashloo's primary source is Sandro Botticelli. He replicates the revered Western original but, the charm and sophistication of Renaissance portrait is undermined by his unremitting attempts to partially ruin them. By injuring and disfiguring these masterpieces, he communicates his discontent with the shattered values of our age.
    The images are usually set against an ambiguous and esoteric background, mostly a bitterly cold winter, in order to make a strong and moving statement that can be interpreted both culturally and politically: it should be noted that this painting was executed in 1978, just a year before the Revolution, a time of turmoil within Iran.
    In the later works of this period, he extended his sardonic repertoire to include images with silhouetted faceless body, evidently lacking any sense of identity and orientation. The polemic in these works is even stronger, showing an increasing skepticism about the rhetoric of the dominant cultural power against the past periods.