LONDON - A sure mark of the globalisation of the contemporary art market is when we see works by non-Western artists taking their place on the international platform. Some, like Ai Weiwei or Anish Kapoor, defy any pigeonholing through the sheer status of what they have achieved. Increasingly, we are seeing artists from the Middle East make a similar mark on the art scene. Of these, Sotheby’s is selling works by some of the best-known and highly valued names on July 1st as part of its Contemporary Art Day sale. Shezad Dawood, (currently artist in residence at London’s Parasol Unit), Shirin Neshat (art laureate at Davos this year), an ever-inventive Farhad Moshiri, and the highly-sought-after Ahmed AlSoudani are all represented through some important works that will make any discerning collector press the speed dial to Sotheby’s bidding hotline!
Farhad Moshiri's Censored Bride. Estimate £120,000–180,000.
There is a superb example of Shezad’s iconic fluorescent calligraphy which first impressed audiences at the 2009 Venice Biennale, and a personal favourite is the fine Shirin Neshat portrait from the Tooba Series which captures all the skill of her super-imposed calligraphy at its most complex and expressive level (and a bargain at the low estimate of £30,000). Buyers vie with one another for works by AlSoudani, this fascinating US-based Iraqi artist who took Biennales by storm a few years ago and whose works do not often come to market. An explosive imagery typifies his output and this particular large-scale work – You No Longer Have Hands (2007) – is a superb example of his raw physicality and unorthodox methods of painting over drawing. The raging black mass seems to be a ball of pent-up fury and is one of his strongest works, shown in 2009 at Saatchi Gallery’s Unveiled. Other highly-regarded artists such as Chris Ofili and Ghada Amer (an early work in acrylic and embroidery) are also featured in the Day Sale, with an unusual canvas by Farhad Moshiri being a real find for followers of his work. Censored Bride is exactly what the title suggests – a hand-embroidery composition whose treatment of the head reflects the theme.
Shirin Neshat's Tooba Series. Estimate £30,000–40,000.
Catering to a variety of tastes and collecting trends, the selection of art from these now-mainstream artists whose work is nevertheless informed by their heritage is a happy choice for a market whose acknowledgement of their contribution is unequivocal. Do not miss a viewing!