Selected works by Rokni Haerizadeh

Rokni Haerizadeh
Typical Iranian Wedding (main image, left panel & right panel)

2008

Oil on canvas

200 x 600 cm

Rokni Haerizadeh uses painting as a means to critique the hypocritical aspects of his culture. Haerizadeh’s Typical Iranian Wedding ironically describes the rigmarole of getting hitched, Persian style. Presented as a mammoth diptych, men and women are physically separated into two panels, which when coupled form a grand hall divided by a curtain. On the men’s side guests carouse with abandon amongst over-flowing buffet tables, live music, and lush flower decorations; while the ladies’ is a much more Spartan affair. Aside from the grotesquerie fashion show of primped up wives and girlfriends, there’s only one measly turkey and the lights are left on so as not encourage excessive party spirit. Haerizadeh rendersthese scenes with a satirist’s relish, considering every detail as a deliciously cruel and too accurate caricature.

Rokni Haerizadeh
Razm

2006

Acrylic on canvas

200 x 200 cm
This painting’s title, Razm, is the Farsi word for fighting: considered in epic poetry, along with love, to be one of the two great heroic activities. Haerizadeh often takes inspiration from Persia’s rich literature – such as Ferdowski’s The Book of Kings or Rumi’s poetry and prose works – using its grand themes as allegories for contemporary Iranian social issues. In Iranian custom, rather than having a war, one soldier from each side was selected to partake in a duel to the death as a means to settle disagreements. Haerizadeh paints this scene with all the energy of a heated battle. On the left of the canvas, the protagonist strides his horse with masculine nonchalance, holding a diamond ring, his damsel’s prize. Smiting his enemy with a single blow, the right side of the canvas descends into violent abstraction, the fallen rider rendered in a cacophony of blurs and patterning, delineated by faint skeletal gestures and heavy cartoon outlines.
Rokni Haerizadeh
Dagger Dance

2008

Acrylic on canvas

200 x 200 cm
Dancing with swords is a traditional custom throughout the Arab world, usually performed by women as part of a wedding ceremony. Haerizadeh delivers this scene with the vivid exoticism of Matisse or Gauguin, his bold colours, heavy outlines, and opulent patterning re-appropriating the tradition of ‘orientalism’. Haerizadeh uses this association with extrinsic idealisation to envision a burlesque parody of the morality of women: his acrobatic belly dancers, chained to the stage, have transformed into a nefariously devious troupe. In conventional ritual the sword represents the honour of the husband, which the girl on the right has ‘accidentally’ dropped.
Rokni Haerizadeh
Shomal (Beach at the Caspian) (main image, left panel & right panel)

2008

Oil on canvas

200 x 300 cm (each panel)
200 x 600 cm (overall)
Humorously reminiscent of Eric Fischl’s paintings of nudes on beaches, Haerizadeh’s portrayal of life on the Iranian seaside falls woefully short of good-fun naturalism. Rendered as a diptych, Shomal (Beach At The Caspian) highlights the inequalities of the sexes, comically exaggerating the inadequacies of dress code. As the men frolic alfresco in the surf and sun, the women stroll lazily in full overcoats or continue their domestic duties serving picnics in black burkas.
Haerizadeh executes this scene with the leisure of daydream, his fluid gestures and frothy brush marks capturing the sun-bleached languor of holiday idle.
Rokni Haerizadeh
Typical Iranian Funeral (main image, left panel & right panel)

2008

Oil on canvas

200 x 300 cm (each panel)

Iranian funerals are elaborate affairs, often lasting several days and incorporating a multitude of ceremonies which extend from the highly staged to the deeply private. Haerizadeh’s Typical Iranian Funeral illustrates the contrast in these varied approaches to bereavement. In the canvas on the left, a meal is shared between the deceased close family and friends, a gathering of the nearest and dearest tellingly structured around divisive table arrangements. The civility of this custom is juxtaposed to an image of public ritual, with bodies on full display, grieved over by mourners-for-hire and strangers, as rites are proclaimed over graveside loudspeakers. In
observing the paradoxes of everyday life, Haerizadeh creates a provocative and sympathetic portrayal of a society that’s fundamentally flawed, and infinitely endearing and relatable.


Other Resources

artfacts.net
Additional Information and various images- Rokni Haerizadeh

artnet.com
Additional Information and various images- Rokni Haerizadeh

economist.com
An article about Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh in The Economist, July 28th 2010

meinfo.com
Discussion of Arab, Iranian, Indian Art and Rokni Haerizadehin Christies auction 2007

7rooz.com
Exhibition details of inaugural exhbition at the NoMoreGrey Gallery September 2007