The Armenian-Iranian artist Marcos Grigorian was an important driving force behind the emergence of Iranian modern art. Whilst his own work is highly international, especially those of his famous Earthworks series, his activities as a teacher and as a gallerist and promoter were fundamental to the development of artists such as Charles Hossein Zenderoudi. In the late 1950s and early 1960s his gallery Esthetique was among the first of its kind- a Western-style gallery in Tehran.
Now the late Grigorian is better known for his minimalistic and highly symbolic Earthworks series. Through both their materials and form, works from this series relate to heaven and earth, spirit and matter. From the deadness of the earth emerges life, and its soil and golden straw are symbols of life and of the sun. The union of the two factors, spirit and matter, and their becoming one is the first step in creation. The form of these pieces makes reference to sacred geometry and esoteric teachings through repetition of the square and the circle, the square being the symbol of the earth, the circle that of the heavens.