Nasrollah Afjehei (Iranian, b. 1933)
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Nasrollah Afjehei (Iranian, b. 1933)


Nasrollah Afjehei (Iranian, b. 1933)
signed 'Afji' and signed again in Farsi (lower left)
acrylic on canvas
78¾ x 78¾in. (200 x 200cm.)
Painted in 2010
Special notice
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Lot Essay

In his calligraphy paintings, Nasrollah Afjehei engages in a visual language strongly influenced by structural calculations and by the use of calligraphy in architecture, which has long been a staple in Islamic art and namely in the art of calligraphy.

In this whirlwind wave of letters, we read the word 'Eshgh' which roughly translates to passionate love. In this lot, the use of black and white suggests a dualistic universe - the 'Yin and Yang' of Persian calligraphy, a world produced with letters, yet opposing colours, creating swirls on contrasted backgrounds. Like in every loving relationship, there are total contrasts and opposite reactions from rejection to jealousy to infatuation and passionate love.

Through the twist of letters, one can reach the ultimate state of love, and the word is majestically relaxing on a white pure background. This work also suggests a move to a more contemporary approach of calligraphy with a higher level of abstraction emphasised by the contrasting and minimal colours.

The significance of the present work lies in the artist's ability to create abstract forms and lines, by endlessly repeating a simple word.
The written word has historically been used as a tool for the documentation and transfer of knowledge or emotion and each written piece, before even being read, holds an intellectual and passionate weight. As such, the presence of written words in an artistic creation, let alone in the art of calligraphy, places the present work in a symbolic order of meaning.

Transcending the strong wave filled with small letters, the work becomes a manifesto of the word 'Eshgh' written with a larger brush and in a subdued and silent manner. The point of departure or end of many other lines have no importance, it started somewhere outside the canvas, whilst other lines continue beyond the borders. The word 'Eshgh' is celebrated through the eyes of the viewer.

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