Thursday, November 13, 2008

Khosrow Hassanzadeh - Ya Ali Madad

Blending images of the past with contemporary aesthetics, the recent work of Khosrow Hazzanzadeh honors traditions while pushing forward.

This series concentrates on the Pahlavan wrestlers, heros from the turn of the century Qajar period (1794- 1925) . These men would pray to Ali using the words Ya Ali Madad. Calling on Ali, the first Imam in the Shi'a tradition is considered to bring strength and luck because he is a protector of the poor or the underdog. People continue to call on Ali, Ya Ali Madad.

In order to highlight the importance of the prayer, the letters that spell out Ya Ali Madad cover the canvas. The movement of the letters creates pattern and texture. The repetition of script in turn echos the words until they become seemingly uttered without pauses for breath.

The imagery repeats itself multiple times becoming a continuous investigation into form and color. The technique remains the same, silkscreen and acrylic on canvas. The colors are vivid, deep and sumptuous. Azur blue, oranges, Gold, turqoise and deep reds all vie for the eye's attention. Placing images from the series Ya Ali Madad next to Persian illuminated manuscripts there is a familiar blending of script, pattern and form.

The Pahlavan are the central figures in the series. The two men hold hands as a court intellectual, a dervish, a General and a mullah are seated on either side of them. These individuals came together to pray before the wrestlers would begin. For Khosrow the Pahlavan represent a past that is he fears is disappearing from contemporary Iran's cultural memory.
By returning to the imagery and lore of the Pahlavan, the artist aims to remind the viewer of the strength, beauty and honor that these men possessed. He is interested in recalling the memory of a period in time. The figures haunt this series as their images become reduced as in one canvas to simply gold outlines on black canvas.

Pieces of this series are currently on view at B21 Gallery in Dubai. This is his second solo exhibition in Dubai.

Concurrently, pieces are also included in the exhibition Living Traditions: Contemporary Art from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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