Comprising 25 works on paper, card, carbon paper and foil, all made between 1960 and 1965, this exhibition of early works by the Iranian pioneer artist Massoud Arabshahi provides a snapshot of the time that a truly Iranian modern art style was born.
Loosely grouped with the likes of Hossein Zenderoudi, Faramarz Pilaram and Parviz Tanavoli, Arabshahi passed through his Saqqakhaneh phase at this time, when he and the others were searching for a new visual language to connect Iran’s rich traditions to present day reality.
Even more so than his contemporaries, Massoud Arabshahi was full of experimentation in his work at this time. The extraordinary variety of motif, materials and technique he employed in this short period range from large, boldly executed works in poster paint that anticipate street art, to others resembling abstract expressionist action painting, with dripped metallic and industrial paint, to minutely executed panels of relief on gold foil and card.
This group of paintings, drawings and reliefs comes from the private collection of the Azari family, who lived in Tehran between 1959 and 1965 and acquired an outstanding body of work from many of the painters who are now among Iran’s most celebrated.
Above: Massoud Arabshahi: Untitled. Ink and gouache on paper mounted on card. Courtesy Azari collection and Lawrie Shabibi