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Farhad Moshiri

 (born 1963)
Farhad Moshiri is active/lives in California / Iran, Islamic Republic of.  Farhad Moshiri is known for impasto pop art painting and sculpture.

Farhad Moshiri

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Farhad Moshiri
In his Candy Store series, Farhad Moshiri applies brightly coloured "pies" of acrylic, extruded through an icing sugar tube, to highly kitsch paintings on canvas, giving the works an almost edible appearance.  Here the image of a fashionable girl in a headscarf speaking intently into her mobile phone is constructed entirely of these multi-coloured almost fluorescent "pies".  Superimposed as it is upon an underlying painted multi-tiered cake executed in a polished, cartoon-like way, the dual imagery provides an impression of that which is sugar-coated, artificial and saccarhine to the extreme.

Moshiri makes sense of this juxtaposition by judicious use of material and theme- that of which the girl is made resembling closely that which decorates the cake.  Displaying his characteristic wit, by pairing these two sets of imagery, instantly recognizable yet rarely seen together, Moshiri creates an implied yet ambiguous sense of narrative and social comment.

Farhad Moshiri's fascination with Pop Art is well-documented, channeling far-ranging influences in his work from Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and more recently Jeff Koons.  Much like the work of Warhol and Koons, Moshiri's Mobile Talker extols the gratification of human aspiration and desire through the elevation of consumer goods.  Moshiri, using this visual vocabulary brings his own cultural baggage and gleeful sense of play to his Iranian subjects including history, identity and contemporary culture.

After thirteen years working and studying in Los Angeles, Moshiri settled in Tehran in the early 1990s, drawn by the blossoming of artistic expression epitomized by the international success of Iranian cinema.  Upon his return, the artist was interested in observing the new social classes that had emerged in post-revolutionary Iran and who flourished following a new climate of measured tolerance and democracy.

The dynamic and seemingly contradictory forces presented by a conservative establishment and a media-savvy younger generation has provided Moshiri with the raw materials to produce art that successfully broaches cultural and aesthetic biases.

The meeting of East and West, of tradition and modernity characterizes Moshiri's practice and now forms the matrix of Tehran's burgeoning art scene. Yet, whilst artists working in Iran today are not entirely free to make direct political, social, or religious critiques without risking outright censorship, Moshiri has found the means to use these restrictions for his own ends.  For this reason, Moshiri, like many of his peers, values allusion, ambiguity, and subtlety-an under-the-radar approach that verifies, among other things, that pop culture has long since infiltrated borders in Iran just as surely as it has everywhere else in the world.

Christie's Auction House

Biography from Sotheby's Doha
Farhad Moshiri has explored the artistic potential of various mediums throughout his successful career.  After studying art and filmmaking at the California Institute of Arts (CalArts) he spent several years in America before returning to Iran and producing his Jar Series, which marked his rise to becoming an internationally acclaimed contemporary artist.  

He has exhibited extensively on the international level, with major solo shows in Rome, London, and Berlin.  Moshiri's work frequently combines an understanding of Iranian visual vernacular with wittily satirical references to popular culture, whilst also drawing upon the rich traditions of Iran's artistic and literary heritage. 

The Jar Series, is one of the most important and instantly recognizable sequences of his career to date.  His jars are variously influenced by the amphorae of the pre-Islamic period, namely Sassanian remains, the thirteenth century Seljuk potters in Persia, and the extraordinary archaeological riches of Iran.  The creation of the Jars is a painstaking process: the fragility of the craquelure within this piece is the result of Moshiri patiently applying layers of paint before folding and crushing the canvas.  Set against a plain white background the viewer is encouraged to consider the object in its entirety and without extraneous distraction.

Moshiri's decision to celebrate a humble utilitarian object marks his commitment to continuity and tradition: "I had picked as a subject matter an object that the first man had made and here I was, thousands of years later, doing the same thing again, despite every revolution, all the changes that had happened."(The artist cited in: W. Singh-Bartlett, "Farhad Moshiri When Ancient becomes Modern", in: Canvas magazine, Vol. I, No. 5, September/October 2005, pp. 76-79).

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About  Farhad Moshiri

Born:  1963
Known for:  impasto pop art painting and sculpture