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    Sale 7674

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 October 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 77

    Yaghoub Emdadian (Iranian, b.1948)


    Price Realised  


    Yaghoub Emdadian (Iranian, b.1948)
    signed in Farsi and dated '2006' (lower left)
    acrylic on canvas
    55 1/8 x 71in. (140.5 x 180.3cm.)
    Painted in 2006

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    Yaghoub Emdadian's paintings are highly abstracted landscapes, where vast spaces are defined in terms of pure forms and variations of colour. Space is arranged in a way that recalls the Persian miniature: unlike the Western depiction of perspective toward a vanishing point, the more distant the location the higher up it is in the composition.
    Along the top of Emdadian's paintings one often sees small shapes- trees, buildings, figures. They seem to hang in the far distance, separated from the viewer by large dominant squares of pure colour, which lend a feeling of immensity to this notion of space.

    "The photograph had relieved European artists
    of the need for optical correctness; they no longer
    needed to make pictures, and could now make paintings
    infusing their canvases with what and how they felt
    rather than with just what they saw and how they saw

    Yaghob Emdadians paintings inherit this modernist
    counter-tradition associated with the West but so
    thoroughly suffused with the seeing processes of Asia
    and elsewhere. Indeed, Emdadians work, especially in
    its evolution, demonstrates how those seeing processes
    have informed the processes of Western modernism. In
    his earlier paintings, where the landscape elements
    are carefully articulated and unmistakably apparent,
    Emdadian modifies the visual literalism of the 19th
    century landscape with a luminous palette, a vigorous
    brushstroke, and a sense of patterned structure not so
    much overlaid on the image as supporting it. These
    paintings share a common schema: a cluster of
    residences, farmhouses, and other buildings all one
    story, most with peaked roofs aligns across a visual
    plane near the top of the picture, the horizon line
    having been raised to a position barely a quarter of
    the way down from the top of the canvas. The rest of
    the painting is occupied by a stylized depiction of
    fields, scored by mostly diagonal lines.

    What read as lines coursing arbitrarily across
    (painted or cultivated) fields their orthogonal
    thrusts amplified by the pictures high horizons
    still seem crucial to the paintings, providing them a
    rhythmic and almost tactile frisson. They break up the
    plane of vision rather gently, as if rays of sunlight,
    and often set off areas of coloristic shimmer,
    unlikely effects of water on land, perhaps mirages.
    This modified cubism suggests the work of the great
    color cubist Jacques Villon, whose lines were
    similarly long and pliable and whose colors were
    similarly vivid.

    As he became more and more abstract through the 1990s,
    Emdadian came to embrace a tradition somewhat
    different, somewhat more refined, than that of the
    cubist landscape. Moving away from any obvious
    reference to the real world, he came to inhabit a
    world of nearly pure abstraction, in which the
    paintings sense of space functioned as one element in
    an elaborate counterbalance of visual elements, all of
    them apparently liberated from any direct connection
    to quotidian observation. The basic schema carries
    over verbatim from the earlier, more literal
    landscapes: there remains a high horizon, and flecked
    upon it are marks suggesting the mid-ground presence
    of geometric structures. But now, those structures,
    the fields before or below them, and the lines that
    mark the fields have all coordinated into a uniplanar
    composition, a composition in which only coloristic
    nuance allows for a visual comprehension of depth
    and an ambiguous depth at that. In fact, that nuance
    allows Emdadians colors to move from opaque to nearly
    transparent, and to do so within the parameters of
    individual shapes, allowing the shapes themselves to
    slide back and forth against and upon one another like
    sliding doors."

    Peter Frank, Yaghob Emdadian: The Spaces of the Land,
    Los Angeles, March 2008. Peter Frank is Senior Curator at the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, California.