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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    When I arrive in Germany seventeen years ago, I was Parastou Forouhar. Somehow, over the years, collaborating with Western colleagues and delineating my own artistic territory, I have become “Iranian”. The distance that has grown within me between “here and now” and “there back then” does not have a strong border. The space inbetween assures me of a self-image even there, where I am absent. These spaces are simultaneously near and distant and relate to each other in an alternating process.
    Parastou Forouhar, Iranian Photography Now, ed. Rose Issa, 2008, p. 44
    Born in 1962 in Teheran, Iran, Forouhar left her country in 1991. Since that time she has been living and working in Germany.
    It serves as both a clarification and a dilemma to begin by calling Parastou Forouhar an Iranian artist, as first and foremost she is an artist. However, certian aspects related to her ethnictiy become aspects of her personality and are inseparable from her being, and thus her introduction begins with her as an Iranian artist. Forouhar’s works embody this dilemma of characterization. The complex weavings of culture face problems of over – simplification just as her works are confronted with hasty judgments.This intellectual and artistic enquiry into meaning, truth, judgement, and stereotypes comes forth in Forouhar’s works. She flirts with the semiotics of seemingly Iranian and Arabic images, but invites the viewer to question the obvious connections. The public sees markings which are familiar, but for deep truth, one must strive to look beyond immediate impressions.
    The Bodyletter Series capture an embroidered language dispersed throughout a white canvas which is a room’s surface. Divided into a series of 3 or 4 photographs, the separate but interlinked images speak to one another. The viewers are invited to try and read the text and to try and decipher the mysterious code in search of some concealed truth. The white space serves to bring to light the absolute dichotomy between the hidden messages of the black script against the simplicity of the blank walls. For those unable or unfamiliar with the Iranian script, the writing loses its purpose as a simple language tool. It almost seems like intricate ornamentation which one must discover through what is the purest internal identity of an abstract work. Unable to communicate its meaning, it becomes not a direct/objective means of conveying a message, but an indirect/subjective experience. Through its loss of representational aspects a whole new world of communication has been opened. What seems initially as a loss is actually a birth of infinite possibilities. The form of the Iranian script – the way it is made, it’s purely visual aspects, and it’s medium come alive and emphasize the autonomy of the colour, line, shape, and texture. The actual meanings of the words fall secondary to this language.


Body Letter, Tripartite


Three digital prints, printed 2008.

Each 47 x 70 cm. (18 1/2 x 27 1/2 in).
Signed and numbered 1/3 in ink on a label. One from an edition of 3 plus 1 artist’s proof.

£5,000 - 7,000 

Sold for £10,000


22 Nov 2008, 3pm