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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist; Private collection, Iran

  • Catalogue Essay

    Mohammad Ehsai combines the vision of the artist with the craft of the calligrapher, producing works whose technical excellence is unrivaled, and whose conceptual makeup is both reflective and profound. A master and lifelong disciple of traditional Persian calligraphy, Ehsai draws from his technical expertise to render exquisite and monumental letter-forms, yet his aesthetic is neither derivative nor imitative of traditional examples of the practice, for Ehsai is often willing to break from the classical formalism of the calligraphic orthodoxy.
     
    In the present piece we see a striking example of this; the convoluted ornamentations and border motifs of traditional calligraphic depictions disappear, leaving us with a bold, clear, background. The words are no longer composed of singular strokes of the reed pen, but are painted in a more pronounced, imposing script, fanning elegantly outwards from an intertwined nucleus. In terms of subject matter, Ehsai chooses to repeat Mohabat, a word describing Divine Grace, one of the chief attributes of God. Through this gesture, Ehsai not only pays tribute to the centuries long tradition of ritual incantation of sacred names, but at the same time makes the more profound artistic statement that sanctity and perfection can be related through visual beauty, and that the graceful aesthetic of the letterform reveals qualities and attributes that shed light on aspects of the divine which are otherwise unfathomable.
     
    Phillips de Pury & Company would like to thank Nima Sagharchi for his contribution to the Middle Eastern and Iranian artists’ essays in this catalogue.
     

335

Mohabat

2006
Silver leaf and oil paint on canvas in the artist's painted wooden frame.
152 x 152 cm. (59 3/4 x 59 3/4 in).
Signed "Mohammad Ehsai [in Farsi]' lower right.

Estimate
£75,000 - 95,000 

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

18 Oct 2008, 7pm
London