• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7804

    International Modern & Contemporary Art

    27 October 2009, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 135

    Aydeen Aghdashloo (Iranian, b. 1940)

    Mors - Vita (from the Memories of Destruction series)

    Price Realised  

    Aydeen Aghdashloo (Iranian, b. 1940)
    Mors - Vita (from the Memories of Destruction series)
    signed and dated twice 'Aydeen 2009' (lower left of the right and the left panels)
    gouache on card, diptych
    each 30¼ x 23¼in. (77 x 59cm.); overall: 30¼ x 46½in. (77 x 118cm.)
    Painted in 2009 (2)


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    Mors/Vitae is part of Aghdashloo's famous series Memories of Destruction, in which he uses icons of Italian as well as Persian classical paintings, subverting them by destroying much of the familiar images through tearing, crumpling, burning and scratching. Typical of the works in this series, in Mors - Vita, he bases his work on the principles of Italian Renaissance painting, replicating revered Western originals, but undermining the charm and sophistication Renaissance portraits through 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. 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. Another important work from the Memories of Destruction series was sold in these rooms lot 76, 31st October 2007, Christie's Dubai.
    In his later paintings, he further intensifies his sarcastic language by supplying his images with silhouetted faceless body with the face often covered with cloths, which evidently lacks any sense of identity and orientation. These hybrid works have an even stronger element of polemic, which points to an increasing skepticism about the rhetoric of the dominant cultural power against the past periods, and thus maintain an explicit political edge. The artist's preoccupation with lost glory of the past is not merely intended to pay homage to his mentors, but to express a sense of devastation derived from the cultural decline and dissolution of values.
    Aydeen Aghdashloo is deeply respected by the Iranian nation, not only as a celebrated artist, but also as a great writer and distinguished art teacher.

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