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Massoud Arabshahi


Name: Massoud Arabshahi
Birth: 1935, Tehran - Iran
Graduated from the Academy of Decorative Arts - Tehran

Massoud Arabshahi

As one of the most imaginative Iranian painters, who employs a wide range of media from gold leaf to oil, symbols from ancient Mesopotamia to the most universal ones, brushstrokes ranging from heavy impasto to the very lightest, Arabshahi's magnificent production is, nevertheless, constructed around one simple idea: the search for purity and glamor.
This search leads him first to a historical investigation. He neither makes an attempt to glorifying a supposed golden past against a lifeless and pale present, nor does he attempt to observe the historical relevance of the past to the present, but to understand what is the essence of things belonging to the past that makes them survive.
What is this magic that makes something a heritage? The result of this first exploration is the use of symbols such as lotus, wheel, shinning sun, tree of life, pseudo-cuneiform rearranged with more universal symbols such as circles, squares, curves, and spirals to assert that the aim is not a mere reproduction of the vestige of the past. The outcome is a beautiful manifestation of complicates between past and present, the external and internal emotions and, above all, language and desire. A wonderful series of these frames are used to illustrate verses from the Avesta , the sacred book of Zoroastrians.
In 1980's, Arabshahi chooses a more modern context for reading the ancient past. In addition to mathematical signs, flesh symbol, and architectural plans come together to complete the set of used symbols, and the lines become sharp and razor thin. The use of new material such as aluminum and the hint given by the visible constructions that fix the new to the old attest that in his search for purity, Arabshahi relies more on the intellectual and the synthetic constructions rather than the natural and transcendental. During this period the history is reduced to its minimal expression, which is represented merely with gold leaf, a connecting web.
Arabshahi's doubt about the language as a capable means to give account from the past becomes more evident in his 1990's paintings. Not only the ancient symbols are less and less present, but other cuneiform and mathematical symbols are faded out; the only things that remains is the universal symbols that dominate his work, thus gives a much more stable sensation to the paintings. Although, this mystic period did not last long it opened a new horizon in the work of Arabshahi, that from here on takes a more abstract path while indicating some impressionistic influence.


1964, Ministry of Arts and Culture Prize, 4th Tehran Biennial
1965, Mother's Day Exhibition Prize, Tehran
1972, First Prize, Public contest for sculpture ornament at the Farah-abad Park, Tehran
1973, First Prize, Monaco International Exhibition

Solo Exhibition

1964 India Artistic Center, Iran - Tehran
1965 Tehran University, Iran - Tehran
1965 Biennial, France - Paris
1967 Galerie Solstice, France - Paris
1967 Museum of Sacred Arts, France - Paris
1968 Mobile Exhibition of Contemporary Iranian Arts - U.S.A
1970 Modern Iranian Art: a Retrospective, Iran American Society, Iran - Tehran
1971 Negar Gallery, Iran - Tehran
1973 Grand Palais, France - Paris
1973 Galerie Guiot, France - Paris
1973 International Exhibition, Monte Carlo, France - Monaco
1974 International Exhibition of Arts, Iran - Tehran
1975 Blue, Takhte Jamshid Gallery, Iran - Tehran
1975 Volume and Environment, Iran America Society, Iran - Tehran

Group Exhibition

2011 art expo_ Los Angeles
1984 Paris art festival _
1978International Exhibition-Basel, Switzerland
1977 Group Exhibition-Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
1977 Exhibition 'Contemporary Art Museum, Kerman
1977 International Exhibition wash art_ Washington, USA
1976 Trade and range-node treasure Tehran
International Exhibition-1355 Basel, Switzerland
1975 Fifty Years of the Art Association Gallery-Tehran-Iran
1975 Exhibition Gallery Association, and American treasure, and range-
1975 Blue Gallery Group Exhibition 'Persepolis Tehran
1974International Exhibition-Tehran
1973 World's Fair of France-Monaco
1973Exhibition-Paris gallery guilot
1973Exhibition-Paris Grand Palh
1968 Exhibition of Contemporary Artists in America
1967V- Tehran Biennial
1967 Museum of Modern Art-Paris
1964_Trade- Embossed Tehran University
1964_Paris-Paris Biennial
1962_Fourth Biennial _Tehran
1961_Third Biennial -Tehran


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