- Mohammad Ehsai
- Eshgh (Love)
- (iv) signed and dated 2011 twice
- acrylic and silver leaf on canvas, in six parts
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Ehsai consider letters as individual visual elements, rather than components of a whole. He first mastered formal calligraphy before exploring the flowing rhythms of the 18th century cursive Naskh script, the broken form of Shekasteh and the 15th century Persian Nasta’liq script. His thorough understanding of these ancient forms enables his artworks to transition seamlessly between ancient calligraphy and modern art, pushing aesthetic boundaries and creating a new perspective for lyrical Iranian art.
In this exemplary six part series, we can see the recurring use of the word eshgh meaning love. Ehsai’s chosen word is repeated on each canvas four times, the undecipherable, intertwined letters float upon a reflective silver vacuum in a range of colours. Typical to his style, Ehsai’s work is limited to dual colours; this restriction in palette gives his artwork a brilliant visual contrast with a monumental effect. The use of silver background which is a colour traditionally associated with the moon as a backdrop for acts of devotion is loaded with spiritual symbolism, in this case the word eshgh.
With its rich texture, depth and captivating composition, the definition of eshgh is completely neglected. Ehsai instead focuses on the vibrancy of movement and the poetic curvature of the letter forms, creating an abstract shape, and appealing design, just as the artist once stated "the composition is designed to be seen rather than read".
Ehsai's visual language implemented via his calligraphic paintings is substantially influenced by structural designs and the use of calligraphy in the ornamentation of ancient Islamic architecture. In this striking series of canvases, Ehsai offers an innovative response to traditional Islamic decoration and calligraphy, transforming preconceived notions via a renewed use of colour, graphic rules, and a variety of materials.