Farhad Moshiri, the most acclaimed contemporary Iranian artist today, is known for his extraordinarily rich and varied aesthetic vocabulary. At the crossroads between Pop Art, Conceptual Art, advertising and traditional iconography, his works embrace a broad range of mediums from paint to embroidery, from acrylic pastries to Swarovski crystals, from kitchen knives to gilded furniture and depict classical jars as much as cartoon-like characters and chandeliers. Equally inspired by the traditional arts and crafts of his homeland and the history of Western art, he reinterprets Marcel Duchamp's exploration of the found object and is unsurprisingly perceived by many today as the Jeff Koons of the Middle East.
Following failed attempts at becoming an experimental filmmaker, Farhad Moshiri went different ways before focusing on his passion for the ancient ceramics of the Safavid and Achaemenid dynasties in Iran. Discovering unique pieces in museums upon his return to Iran from California in the late 1990s, he himself became a collector of old crafted jars and bowls and soon decided to recreate these objects on the surface of the canvas, perhaps in an attempt to eternalise them and freeze a celebrated moment in history.
By folding and unfolding the canvas and thus crushing the surface of the paint, Moshiri creates an overall crackling effect and seals the remaining painting with a transparent water-based glue to prevent further losses. Different layers of paint and colour appear on the surface of the canvas, creating an archaic-like effect that alludes to the irregular surface of the ancient ceramics.
When the artist, collector and curator Fereydoun Ave exhibited Farhad Moshiri's early depiction of jars and bowls in his gallery in central Tehran, many encountered his works for the first time and soon after, his works were to be found in many collectors' homes. His depictions of jars and bowls were the starting point to his acclaimed international career as an eccentric and ingenuous artist and a few years later, his paintings were shown in London, Paris, Rome, Berlin and Sharjah.
The present work, a delicate oil on canvas, is an early example from his Bowl series. The light and shadow effect resulting from the crackling surface of the paint and the balanced composition create a sense of quietness and peaceful serenity that evoke the golden age of Persian culture and tradition. Through his painting, Farhad Moshiri intuitively brings the past and the present together and discreetly comments on the everlasting dualities between tradition and modernity in post-revolutionary Iran.