Digressing from the plethora of fascinating artistic production emanating from Iran, the work of Koorosh Shishegaran explores an alternative approach to painting. Through rigorous abstraction, powerful line, dynamic form and unusual shapes, Shishegaran infuses his work with a vibrant energy and geometrical sensibility to craft an artistic lexicon far different to that of both his predecessors and contemporaries alike.
Although his early works focused on more socio-political aspects that implemented the use of smaller compositions and drawings, in 1985 and 1986 Shishegaran moved into large scale canvas paintings, which were later to evolve into his signature style using a colourful manipulation of line. The seminal work, Samovar from 1986 embodies one of his earliest experiments with a fusion of technique and scale in the form of lines, doodles and scribbles, later known as Linear Drawings or khat-khaty’s. Placed against a white background, swirls of yellow, brown, shades of blue and red ebb and flow to orchestrate the most unique geometric composition. Commencing at the top left corner of the canvas and then making its way vertically down the centre, the artist intertwines these loops and swirls of alternating shades to produce an unparalleled feeling of movement. Through dynamic brushstrokes Shishegaran produces lines which seem to have no beginning and consequently no end, the canvas bears a profound timelessness.
Confronted by the artist’s vibrant colour palette, it becomes clear that these strokes are not spontaneous and abrupt, rather they gain their movement through being meticulously thought out and strategically placed. Each swirl is not the result of a single encounter with the canvas but the result of an intentional thought. With this in mind, it become clear that the underlying social-political commentary remains an integral part of the artist’s intention.
Therefore by adopting this new technique, Shishegaran does not abandon the attentiveness to objects which were visible in his past works.
Despite the exclusion of recognisable imagery from his works, Shishegaran is by no means ignorant of his surroundings. Translating heightened visual observations into his own artistic language, the momentum of these eternal spirals are in fact representational of real world interpretations by the artist. Giving precedence to formalistic powers, the artist transforms a visual experience into one that encourages the viewer’s engagement. Desiring the participation of his audiences, Shishegaran is determined for the viewer to decipher the imagery of a simple object such as a samovar for themselves, allowing each work to be interpreted uniquely. Bringing about a new dimensionality to abstraction, the artist manipulates our sense of perspective on the canvas’ two dimensional plane.
The realities of the Revolution informed Shishegaran’s work, yet did not diminish his painterly spirit as he proceeded to translate his emotions and everyday objects into the excitement, dynamism and abstracted forms which dominated these new canvases. Interestingly this work, was exhibited at the Classic Gallery in 1989 that marked the first exhibition for the artist after the Revolution and revealed these large scale canvases that showed a metamorphosis from his previous work. With this in mind, it becomes clear that Samovar offers a unique opportunity to acquire a work by the artist that is a testament to his continuing stylistic endeavours.