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Farhad Mohsiri (Iranian, b. 1963)
Lots are subject to 5% import Duty on the importat… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION
Farhad Mohsiri (Iranian, b. 1963)

Le Jeu est fini (Game is Over)

Details
Farhad Mohsiri (Iranian, b. 1963)
Le Jeu est fini (Game is Over)
signed, titled and dated ‘Game is over Farhad Moshiri 2003’ and signed, titled and dated in Farsi (on the reverse)
oil and acrylic on canvas
71 ¼ x 53 ½ in. (181 x 136cm.)
Painted in 2003
Provenance
Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
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Michael Jeha
Michael Jeha

Lot Essay

The present lot is part of Farhad Moshiri's signature early ongoing jar series, part of one of the largest, most creative and interdisciplinary series of his overall oeuvre that includes embroidery, acrylic pastries, Swarovski crystals, kitchen knives and classical bowls and jars. Moshiri’s works draw influences from Pop Art, Conceptual and traditional iconography of his native Iran, critiquing on the pervasive Western influence in his homeland and bringing questions of identity and authenticity in his work.

An avid collector of Persian ceramics, his fascination incited him to partake in discussions of form and cultural significance in objects’ importance from ancient times to the contemporary, most notably scene in the contemporary cultural appropriation. With pitchy expressions, his recurring jars reveal his fascination with archaeology and Persian history and kitschy Western culture with titles such as ‘A New World’ (2003) ‘My Loving Heart Beats Only For You’ (2005) and ‘You Left All Alone But Your Love Remained’ (2005) inscribed in nasta’aliq, an ornate, stately and calligraphic script used in writing the Persian alphabet. Leaving Iran at the age of 15, he attended high school in the US and later graduating from California Institute of Arts in 1984. Upon his return to Iran in 1991 following the end of the Iran/Iraq war, Moshiri experienced a new culture post 1979 revolution that was completely redefined in its cultural language of wealth and luxury. In the hopes to subvert the flaws of his homeland and the limitation of the Western world, Moshiri was keen to study modern Iranian poetry, collecting these ancient ceramics of Persian Golden Ages, as well as amassing in his studios vernacular, quotidian sayings found is Farsi pop songs and everyday use, later inscribing these jars and much of his work in these kitschy expressions, a literally ‘jarring’ approach to juxtaposing seemingly disparate time and place.

It was in Iran that he and his archaeologist wife visited museums, and collected old utilitarian objects. As the artist said, ‘If I found something I could buy for a buck or two, I would… But one day I got stopped by the police because they thought I had looted and ancient jar and while this matter was quickly ruled as a misunderstanding, this incident scared [me], so I stopped collecting –that was when I did my first jar painting.’ (Ed. Nasser-Khadivi, D., Farhad Moshiri, Life is Beautiful, Milan 2016, p. 49)

Jars throughout history had a dual function, used not only as objects of utility, but as a decoration. Revolutionizing the way they were displayed, Moshiri depicted them on a flat surface that it can be an object of gazing, by looking at it on canvas. Here Moshiri creates a dialogue through text in traditional calligraphic style, where poetry and sacred texts were inscribed on objects. Iran boasts a heavy history of jars, from the Susa’s 6000 years ago to Sassanian vessels predating Islam to the advanced wares of 13th century Seljuq pots and to the 17th century Safavids. However just as their vast history serves as a framework for ancient times, the contemporary Iranian culture was plagued by a superficial and commercially driven artifice. To depict this decay, Moshiri experimented with weathered textures of his jars, through a process akin to the techniques art dealers would touch up to works by 19th century Qajar oil portraits, as he would readily see while strolling through Tehran’s antique district. The craqueleurs of the iridescent paint gives the jar its rich texture, which at once, makes the object appear beautiful as well as ancient and important.

The evolution of his jar series since 2001 shows his early depictions of a jar in earth tones, patinas and weather textures such as the present lot. Christie’s is delighted to have sold I will have no more wishes if you come back to me for US $245,000 (October 2015) from the same year. Later he experimented in textures and colors, lining the jars and coloring them in neon pinks, greens and blues, and making them more deliciously consumed by society, portraying them either in slender-neck, heart shaped, or round, exhibiting them just as an ancient artifact against a white neutral background. ‘The deliberate archaeological aesthetic and sense of literal excavation intense paintings evoke a search for and discovery of a lost identity.’ In many ways, Moshiri is channeling the Saqqakhaneh School of the 1960s and 70s from Iran and infusing form into a world in which clearly defined borders exist between language, time, and place.

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