• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7665

    International Modern and Contemporary Art

    30 April 2008, Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel

  • Lot 120

    Abbas Kiarostami (Iranian, b. 1940)


    Price Realised  


    Abbas Kiarostami (Iranian, b. 1940)
    signed, numbered and dated in Farsi (lower centre)
    photographic print on canvas, triptych
    each 64¾ x 33½in. (164.5 x 85cm.); overall 64¾ x 100½in. (164.5 x 255cm.)
    Executed in 1978-2006, this work is unique (3)

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    Abbas Kiarostami's photographs of snowy landscapes were taken in the mountains on the shores of the Capsian over a long period of time. In this series Kiarostami confines himself to seemingly narrow limits, each of these black and white images being composed of only two elements, the snow and the trees. However, the variety of compositions is startling. In some the viewpoint is close to subject, and the resulting image is rich in detail. In others, the steep mountain slopes with rows of trees one above the other, makes the perspective read almost like that of a Persian miniature, in which the further the object, the higher up the page it will appear. In yet others, such as the present example, the compositions more highly abstracted. Here Kiarostami's subject is a single tree, a small slope and the shadows they produce. The elements are wonderfully simple, but used to expressive effect.
    As Abbas Kiarostami has said:
    "You could pass by a landscape hundreds of times and then, one fine day, suddenly, be attracted and captivated by it. The landscape is still the same you passed by many times, but the light has rendered it more attractive. It is the same thing for a face. It happens that, looking in a mirror, one may find one's face more beautiful today than yesterday. I think that this has nothing to do with one's skin, with one having slept well the night before, or with one being happy inside. Of course, all that I have mentioned is undeniable, but what has made one's face more beautiful today than yesterday is only light; adequate light. One must pay attention to the light."