Christie’s is proud to present a signature work by Iranian artist Jazeh Tabatabai that employs recycled materials to make a humorous and human-like figure. Blurring the line between art and non-art, Tabatabi’s work is difficult to categorize within a school or style of Iranian modern art as he is undoubtedly one of the most prominent figures of its timeline. Because sculpture in Iraq lacks a long standing tradition, Tabatabai significantly influenced and even initiated the practice along with artists Ali Akbar and Liliyet Terian. Tabatabai experiments with recycled and assemblage art, turning what was once junk into robot-like forms that evoke lively personalities.
Humorous and witty, the sculptures Tabatabai upcycles make the viewer empathize with the work, attributing to it a soul-like quality to them regardless of their rough appearance. By juxtaposing the rigid material of the found objects to the human-like appeal the final piece evokes, the sculptures become characters of Tabatabai’s imagination. The presented work shows a sort of knight in shining armor, with his sword relaxed in his hand, pointing to the ground. Although his sculptures stand firmly on the ground, the structural caricature of the man is appropriately humorous. The proportion of the body adds to the humor, with a torso too long and legs too short topped off with an extravagant crown, which is a symbol for the sun in Persian literature and folk art.