Rokni Haerizadeh (Iran, born 1978) War in Vain
Lot 432
Rokni Haerizadeh
(Iran, born 1978)
War in Vain
Sold for £32,500 (US$ 52,501) inc. premium

Lot Details
Rokni Haerizadeh (Iran, born 1978)
War in Vain
acrylic on canvas, framed
signed and dated "Rokni Haerizadeh 2008", titled in Farsi (on the reverse), executed in 2008
200 x 301cm (78 3/4 x 118 1/2in).

Footnotes

  • "To Scratch forms into existence and splinter them, as a squinting, half blind eye might apprehend them, to create the distorting visual detritus that shudders around the edge of things seen in agonized haste, this "graphic" kind of clarity can be most sharp when it is most jagged" - Anne Hollander

    Provenance:
    Property from a private collection, Switzerland

    Renowned for his fluid, effuse draughtsmanship and caustic satire, Rokni Haerizadeh is one of the most accomplished contemporary artists to emerge from Iran in recent decades. His majestic renderings of the Iranian urban landscape are brimming with fantasy and saturated with color. Stylistically influenced by the fauve, and the exotic palette of the post-Impressionists, Haerizadeh's works, whilst critical and often derisory, are executed with a sense of buoyancy and fanfare.

    Haerizadeh's principal concern as an artist is faithfully capturing and reflecting the deep visual contradictions abound in Iranian culture. These contradictions in turn, point to deeper paradoxes of belief and identity that riddle the Iranian popular consciousness. Full and crowded, his canvases reflect the visually density of the Iranian landscape, where crowds, cars, objects and urban scenery interlace and merge in a coiling miasma.

    The present work is exemplary of Haerizadeh's use of contradictory visual and thematic elements. Comic yet perverse, animated but morbid, the present work dresses the theme of war in visual pageantry. Ghoulish and comic; diaphanous body bags float above a sea of tanks, themselves toy like and crude. A seemingly mechanized flying carpet carries two cross legged women, brazenly unveiling themselves to reveal military fatigues, the demure and genteel feminine aesthetic undercut by their thick, masculine thighs.

    The depiction of war in this frivolous manner points to the dehumanizing and futile nature of conflict, but also to the glorification and visual propaganda associated with ideological conflicts. In a clear gesture towards the war-time aesthetic of 1980's Iran, Haerizadeh bemoans and ridicules the visual pageantry used to romanticize a conflict deemed as "Holy"; fountains of blood to publically commemorate martyrs, urban murals, religious anthems, spiritual paraphernalia supplied to belligerents, all a visual brocade on one of the bloodiest wars of the twentieth century.

    In his treatment of conflict, Haerizadeh recalls Goya's venerated "Disasters Of War", a set of 82 etchings inspired by the scarring effect of the Franco-Spanish Peninsular War of 1807. Whilst divergent in form and composition, what Haerizadeh absorbs from Goya is the jarred, fragmented sense of perception that accompanies conflict. Goya was said to capture scenes in "agonized haste", and accordingly, the idea that the turbulence of conflict blurred and distorted observation is heavily incorporated in Haerizadeh's depiction.

    Faithfully capturing the opaqueness, turmoil and dissonance of war, the present piece is one of Haerizadeh's most poignant and vivid works.
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