Category: Unseen Shahname

​Mohsen Keiany’s heroes respond to the contemporary cataclysm with benumbed melancholy and detachment

In ‘Unseen Shahnameh’ characters of the Shahnameh appear as they would if they existed in the modern world. Keiany’s heroes of the epic respond to the contemporary cataclysm with benumbed melancholy and detachment. The striking oil paintings are brimming with a narrative that the stretch of the canvas is unable to contain.

The paintings present very monochrome, cluttered scenes featuring characters, horses, armour and calligraphy, all made up using painted depictions of scrap metal, in a perspective that is sharply cropped, conveying the sheer weight (literal and metaphoric) of the subject matter.

Keiany has abandoned the brighter, chromatic palette of his previous works, in favour of a more sombre composition that is overwhelmingly grey. Grey blue and grey purple are used to intensify the displayed action, while ochre and crimson are sparingly used to guide the viewer to the focal point of the ensuing action.

Depicting the immortal, formidable heroes and scenes from the Shahnameh as stylised, manufactured automatons is worrying and illicit disturbing connections between history, consumerism and modern warfare.