Barbad Golshiri

Barbad Golshiri Exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery

Barbad Golshiri
The Portrait Of The Artist As A One Year Old Child


Print on canvas

107 x 149 cm

Barbad Golshiri’s practice is prolific and wide ranging - extending from photography and sculpture to installation, films and critical writing. Central to some of his recent pieces is the examination of how media is used and how it manipulates the regime and its masses in his homeland of Iran. Golshiri’s Portrait Of The Artist As A One Year Old Child is an altered photograph of himself as a baby – taken in 1983, the year a close friend of Golshiri’s family, with a son the same age as Barbad, was executed. The image is presented as a reversal of fortune, illustrating the precariousness of circumstance and the spanning consequences of violence; in Persian the word ’reverse’ is the same word used for ’photo’. Hung upside down, Golshiri’s Dorian Gray-like portrait warps time, conceiving an alternative course of events. The child’s face has been digitally altered to that of a geriatric, freakishly weathered and wise; the inscription written at the top right of the image, “Barbad, when one year old, ’62" - 1362 in the Persian Solar Hijri calendar – when inverted, suggests the baby is 62 years of age.

Barbad Golshiri
Where Spirit And Semen Met



230 x 74 cm

In Where Spirit And Semen Met Golshiri incorporates a portrait of infamous French poet Arthur Rimbaud – the archetypical tormented artist, who in his travels notoriously introduced himself as “I is an other”. Golshiri appropriates this reference in the philosophical sense, the ‘other’ being the self, contrasting the idea of “be yourself” against Iran’s post-revolutionary policy of unanimity or social uniformity that ‘purged’ society of ‘undesirables’ or those who didn’t ‘fit in’. Coupling the photograph with a blue curtain which spatially cuts through and shrouds the face of the subject, Golshiri puts forth the concept that the other can be anyone. The words ‘shroud’, ‘curtain’, ‘screen’ (as in cinema screen) and ‘hymen’ are the same in Persian and Golshiri uses this play on words to intersect ideas of anonymity, power, and identity. The blue curtain is a recurring motif in Golshiri’s work; the omnipresent backdrop to religious and political broadcast in Iran, it is synonymous with nationalism, and serves a practical function as a ‘blue screen’ where subliminal propaganda messages can be inserted. The title of the piece comes from both secular and religious philosophy: in early Christian doctrine, semen conveys the spirit from God, synthesising body and soul, a concept echoed in the theories of Descartes where ‘soul’, ‘personhood’ or ‘identity’ were thought to reside within and be symbolically realised within bodily matter.

Barbad Golshiri's Biography

Barbad Golshiri
Born in 1982, Tehran, Iran
Lives and works in Tehran


Masturpiece(s), Access Artist Run Center, Vancouver, Canada
A Huge Amount of Enough, Azad Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran

The Other, Azad Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran

Odyssey-i project, Roland Quagmire's virtual space

Light Art and Video Works of Art, Golestan Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Critique of Cezanne’s Reason, Honar Cultural Center, Tehran, Iran


Camera Ardens; A Performance with the Blind and Those Who See, BĂ©tonsalon, Paris, France
Breaking News; Contemporary Art from the Middle East, Paris, France
The Question of Identity Vis-Ă -vis Exoticism in Contemporary Iranian Art, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford University, UK
GĂ©opolitique des religions : les politiques de la croyance, The Jeu de Paume National Gallery, Paris, France
Tiny Conceptual, Azad Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran

Soirée Court Métrage, Patronage Laïc, Aftab Association, Paris, France
Projection des vidéos d'artistes iraniens, Centre Socioculturel Madeleine Rebérioux, Créteil, France
All of My Mothers, Bahman Cultural Center, Tehran, Iran
Within and Without; Contemporary Iranian Art, Nomoregrey Gallery, London, UK
Video Zoom, BizArt Gallery, Shanghai, China
Silent Messages; Iranian Video Art, METU Cultural and Convention Center, Ankara, Turkey
The First Contemporary Art Biennial of Thessaloniki, Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece
Bound By (Verbunden-Gebunden), Basement gallery, Vienna, Austria
Analysing while Waiting (For Time To Pass); contemporary art from Tehran, Azad Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Open House with Open Studios, Iaspis, Stockholm, Sweden

Undercurrents 06, Goteborg's Konstmuseum, Sweden

2006 Iranian Art Today, Museum fĂĽr Neue Kunst, Freiburg, Germany
Ausserordentliche Zustande, Zustand, Berlin, Germany
The fifth Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Gyumri, Armenia

Odyssey-i, Khak gallery, Tehran, Iran
Contemporary Iranian Art: Modernity and the Iranian Artist, Kellogg College, Oxford University, England
Immagini dall'Iran, Museo Comunale D'arte Contemporanea, Bari, Italy
Rassegna di Videoarte Iraniana, L’Associazione Culturale Leonardi V-Idea, Genova, Italy
Too Much Pollution to Demonstrate: Soft Guerrillas, Tehran's Contemporary Art Scene, Apex Art, New York
The Fire Ceremony Video Conference', Curated by Graham Thumpson

Video Zoom: Beams of Blue, Sala 1, Roma, Italy
Video Zoom: Videoartisti iraniani, , Museo Trastevere, Roma, Italy
Turning Points, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York
The Incredulity of Saint Barbad in 'For Bam', warehouse near The Iranian Artists Forum, Tehran, Iran
3 Weeks with the Winners of the 6th Tehran Contemporary Painting Biennial, Fattima Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Beams of Blue, Apeejay Media Gallery, New Delhi, India
Joseph Dadoun’s studio in Cité International des Arts, Paris, France

The 6th Tehran Contemporary Painting Biennial, Tehran Contemporary Museum of Arts, Tehran, Iran

Hundred Works, Hundred Artists, Golestan Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Painting, Niavaran Culture Center, Tehran, Iran Photos, Laleh Gallery, Tehran, Iran

The Fifth Group Exhibition of Contemporary Designers, Barg Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Hundred Works, Hundred Artists, Golestan Gallery, Tehran, Iran
Painting, Shafagh Gallery, Tehran, Iran

Paintings, Afarinesh Gallery, Andisheh Culture Center, Tehran, Iran