Afshin Pirhashemi (Iranian, b. 1974)
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Afshin Pirhashemi (Iranian, b. 1974)


Afshin Pirhashemi (Iranian, b. 1974)
signed and dated 'Afshin Pirhashemi 2011' (lower left of the second panel from the left)
oil on canvas, in four parts
78¾ x 118 1/8in. (200 x 300cm.)
Painted in 2011
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Lot Essay

In his most narrative work Hurricane, Afshin Pirhashemi renders a storming wave of eccentric female figures rushing towards the outside of the frame, while a huge whirling hurricane in the background seems to foresee an invasion that will soon take place. The armed women dressed in fashionable black dresses appear determined and relentless in their forceful assault.
Controlled by two armed women, the blindfolded figure in the foreground is the main protagonist. Unarmed and passive, she appears harmless and indifferent to the drama which surrounds her. Is she threatened, undecided or just doubtful?

In the background, the Statue of Liberty as a universal icon reminisces Afshin Pirhashemi's Heading towards New York work. Here, the statue is bending and about to collapse, presumably as a result of the women's rebellious act. As the core of the picture, the statue evokes the destruction of the city as an utopian place for ambitious women whilst simultaneously referring to the end of the freedom, possibly following the conquest by the depicted women.

Pirhashemi's women have a strong albeit aggressive character as they fight against discrimination while maintaining their charming glamour, an allegory to the contemporary Iranian popular culture. The artist is fascinated by the fashion world and inspired by New York City. The female figures resemble fashion models, through their gaze and standing poses.
Pirhashemi's female figures stand between goddesses and contemporary burlesque queens and allow the artist to express his own state of mind.

Afshin Pirhashemi is a frontrunner of Iranian contemporary art whose oeuvre moves towards Neo-Expressionim. His early works were mostly in black and whit, but recently the artist has introduced colour in his figures, leaving the background blank as if to eliminate the sense of time and place.
According to the artist himself, the women in his works represent the continuation of the female figure through history. Afshin Pirhashemi, through his paintings, reveals his inner world as well as his personal view on contemporary life. His works evoke his concerns and anxieties through violent, subconscious and instinctual renditions of women of which Hurricane is an outstanding example.

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