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  • Iranian-American painter Tala Madani’s provocative and humorous portraits comment on cultural and sexual identity. Drawing from her Iranian heritage, where social etiquette strictly limits contact between members of the opposite sex, Madani subverts the tropes of stereotypical Middle Eastern masculinity by depicting men at play and leisure through the lens of a distinctly female imagination. 

     

    Against the background of female rituals such as sleepovers, spa treatments, and bake-offs, Madani’s paintings imagine the goings on at men-only events. Braided Beard’s bear-like subject is primped by a pink-shirted barber, his bulky frame reclining against the improbably small chair like a latter-day odalisque. His hairy legs, delicately crossed, contrast improbably with the shrunken lilac briefs and bright flowery carpet. His barber reaches his hands around his neck, the flexed fingers and indeterminate expression on his face rendering his gestures somewhere between malevolent and gleefully camp. 
     

    • Provenance

      Lombard Freid Projects, New York
      Private Collection
      Christie's, London, 14 April 2016, lot 194
      Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      New York, Lombard Freid Projects, Smoke and Mirrors, 2007
      London, Saatchi Gallery, Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East, 2009, no. 88, n.p. (illustrated)

108

Braided Beard

2007
signed with the artist's initials and dated 'TM 07' on the reverse
oil on canvas
40 x 30 cm. (15 3/4 x 11 3/4 in.)
Painted in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
HK$50,000 - 70,000 
€5,400-7,600
$6,400-9,000

Sold for HK$327,600

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Associate Specialist, Head of Day Sale

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale in Association with Poly Auction

Hong Kong Auction 4 December 2020