• International Modern & Contemp auction at Christies

    Sale 7804

    International Modern & Contemporary Art

    27 October 2009, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 18

    Massoud Arabshahi (Iranian, b. 1935)

    Beyond the Lines

    Price Realised  


    Massoud Arabshahi (Iranian, b. 1935)
    Beyond the Lines
    signed and dated in Farsi (lower right)
    oil and aluminium on canvas
    90½ x 78¾in. (230 x 200cm.)
    Painted in 1978

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    Massoud Arabshahi's artwork is a juxtaposition of the ancient with the futuristic. For over thirty years his work has encompassed large-scale sculpture, relief architecture and murals, in a wide array of techniques. His creativity and perception maintain the simple geometric shapes of antiquity, infusing them with elaborate delineation and texturing, conveying a sense of the finite and producing an aesthetically balanced whole.

    Arabshahi fuses his search for meaning and direction in today's world with art forms and symbology of the ancient and mysterious Middle East. Enhanced by the sculptural architectural quality to his paintings, this gives them great and timeless solidity. Finely wrought web-like detail adorns the surface, the imagery suggestive of caves and caverns, edifices and portals.
    Most of Arabshahi's vocabulary is purely abstract, although he sometimes more direct reference to ancient figural imagery. The first is based on ancient symbols such as the lotus, wheel, shinning sun, tree of life, pseudo-cuneiform, etc. The second mainly employ circles, squares, curves, spirals, tables, etc. Finally, the third includes elements such as arrows, mathematical signs, architectural plans, numbers and parabolic lines. The traditional symbols of the first group are mostly derived from relief works, inscriptions, seals and the pottery of Mesopotamia and Ancient Persia. Each of these symbols represented specific concept in their own time.

    In his early paintings, Arabshahi employs these symbols merely as decorative elements regardless of their original meaning. Later works, however, indicate a more deliberate and thoughtful application of motifs resulting from careful studies of Persian and Islamic art history. The circular and angular forms as well as cruciform and rhythmic curvilinear, rectangular and horizontal lines constitute the most obvious elements of his works at this stage.

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