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Simorgh Recites – Mohammad Eskandari

Solo show by Mohammad Eskandari

Eskandari’s Butterfly Stickers
By Talinn Grigor

There is a simultaneous sense of futurity and historicity in the five large canvas paintings, and one video work, by artist Mohammad Eskandari. His superb mastery over the brush comes from having been born into an artistic family as well as a successful artistic education and career. Yet, these images are not merely an outcome of skill and upbringing. Through that inheritance, these works convey a deep insight into Iranian history, Iranian symbolism, Iranian modernity, Iranian wealth, and Iranian pain.On these canvases, Eskandari embraces the Qajar and Pahlavi pardeh khani tradition. An old Iranian artistic method, that I would trace even further back to Sassanian rock-cuts, portable paintings on large canvases (pardeh) used to illustrate the Battle of Karbala, Koranic stories, and the epic of the Shahnameh. Reviving the large-scale technique, the artist invokes other forms of historical accounts that speak so clearly about a tentative future. Thus, Eskandari selects fragments of rich architectural and geographic past: a gate, an Eyvan, a summit, and a forest collide into a future shaped by human agency that remains unresolved. Historical monuments, national symbols, fragments of natural landscape, and separate figures all hover on the painterly surface – somehow in a state of constant flux, a state of abstraction and foolishness that makes total sense. The painter speaks to his audience. The painter invites his viewer to inhabit a space of ambivalence and absurdity… a place that goes somewhere but that is certainly irresolute…
Excerpt from text by Talinn Grigor for catalogue of exhibition

Talinn Grigor (Ph.D., MIT) author of the book “Contemporary Iranian Art: From The Street To Studio”, is an Associate Professor of modern and contemporary architecture in the Department of Fine Arts at Brandeis University, Boston. Her research concentrates on the cross-pollination of architecture and (post)colonial politics, focused on Iran and India.