Faramarz Pilaram Iranian

Not on view

At first, Composition appears to be composed of simple geometric forms. However, viewers in postwar Iran would have immediately recognized the hand of 'Abbas: an important motif within the popular visual culture of Shi'i Islam that was used in both public rites and as a personal talisman. The addition of metallic copper, gold, and silver colored paints also suggests a connection with the "elevated" traditions of the illuminated text and Persian miniature paintings that Pilaram studied as a high school student in the 1950s at Tehran's School of Decorative Arts for Boys. Even if the viewer is unfamiliar with both the religious and artistic references in the work, they will likely recognize the presence of two, interlocking female figures in the seemingly abstract combination of forms. The silver head of the lower figure, for example, doubles as the hand of 'Abbas, and might also register as the lower figure's groin. This conflation of sacred and erotic signs is characteristic of the humor and irreverence of Pilaram's work from this period. The work's ability to be read in multiple registers, respectively or at the same time, reflects the artist's sophisticated understanding of the complex and diverse set of reference points and traditions that he and his peers in Iran grappled with at the time.

Composition, Faramarz Pilaram (Iranian, born Tehran 1937–1982 Tehran), Gold and copper metallic paints, opaque paint, black ink stamps, and graphite on paper mounted on board, Persia, Iran, Middle East

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