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Shohreh Mehran (Iranian, b. 1958)
Shohreh Mehran (Iranian, b. 1958)

Untitled (From the School Girls series)

Details
Shohreh Mehran (Iranian, b. 1958)
Untitled (From the School Girls series)
signed and dated in Farsi (lower centre)
oil on canvas
68 7/8 x 103in. (175.1 x 261.5cm.)
Painted in 2008
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Lot Essay

Shohreh Mehran first takes photographs of intriguing scenes mostly in an urban environment. She then manipulates the images digitally and finally paints in oil on canvas. The young women in her controversial School Girls series are framed almost exclusively from neck down, their faces are not depicted. They are hence reduced to their hijab, just as the Islamic regime wants them to be. Their identity is lost but instead of reducing them to a repetitive sameness, the uniform individualizes the girls. It sets them in relief against the drab and minimal urban setting in which they are moving. Although their facial expression cannot be seen, these women clearly own the city, they appear joyful and they wield their pens like daggers to prove it.

"Mehran's subjects are either veiling themselves behind the ideology of representation, or veiling themselves altogether, avoid representation, and presenting this avoidance as a subject for representation. Mehran is a photorealist painter only in a strict or skewed sense: her work does not simply represent reality, it represents a reality in the act of escaping representation".
Mani Haghighi.

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