Koorosh Shishegaran (Iranian, b. 1945)
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Koorosh Shishegaran (Iranian, b. 1945)


Koorosh Shishegaran (Iranian, b. 1945)
signed and dated in Farsi, signed 'KOOROSH' (lower left)
acrylic on canvas
63 x 78 ¾in. (160 x 200cm.)
Painted in 2014
Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
H. Keshmirshekan (ed.), Koorosh Shishegaran: The Art of Altruism, London 2016 (illustrated in colour, p. 261).
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Lot Essay

Through rigorous abstraction, powerful line, dynamic form and unusual shapes, Iranian master Koorosh 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. It was in 1985 Shishegaran that brokefrom his earlier political and conceptual works experimenting with a fusion of technique and scale in the form of lines, doodles and scribbles, later known as Linear Drawings or khat-khaty’s. His now signature style has roots in his long search within Iranian visual culture in which Persian calligraphy plays a major role. Inspired by the movements of the calligraphy reed pen, the use of entwined infinite lines are meant to provide an obscure standpoint and amalgamation of two opposing spectrums of abstraction and figuration, intensified by a grouping of different tones in different layers, filling the underlying surface to instigate a profound sense of depth that represent subconscious explosive forms.

Figure from 2014 is a testament to the artist’s skill in producing canvases that transcend notions of time and definitive interpretation. Seemingly an accidental or improvised doodle, it is in fact an elaborate reflection of extreme control, great balance, artistic maturity and strong craftsmanship within a delicate composition of forms and colours. In lines that appear to have no beginning and consequently no end, the main focal point of the composition is the central entanglement of intertwined loops and swirls of alternating shades of blues, reds, oranges and greys, punctuated by white lines that produce an unparalleled feeling of movement against a background comprised of various shades of grey. Within its sheer size, the viewer, confronted by the artist’s vibrant colour palette, discovers that these strokes are not spontaneous and abrupt, but 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; through his carefully organised chaos, Shishegaran aims to conjure up the image of 'portrait' as the main element of the composition, formed mainly by this mass of lines that ebbs and flows to orchestrate the most unique geometric composition.

Shishegaran uses portraits as a medium to convey an underlying message to his audience. Despite the exclusion of recognisable imagery from his works, Shishegaran is by no means ignorant of his surroundings. By presenting the figure in an abstract form, he distances himself from the subject of the work and avoids imposing any personal impression on the viewer, yet simultaneously implies a self-presence within each of his works that questions underlining political and social intentions, transforming a visual experience into one that encourages the viewer’s engagement.

Through dynamic brushstrokes, in Figure Shishegaran brings about a new dimensionality to abstraction, manipulating one’s sense of perspective on the canvas’ two dimensional plane. Captivating in its compositional qualities, it lays testament to Shishegaran’s ability to manipulate line and colour and is a seminal example of what makes the artist one of the most important contemporary artists from Iran today.

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