Shirahmadi’s Breath-taking Technique is Based on Iranian Traditional Khatam Work

Contemporary Iranian sculptor Mehdi Shirahmadi displays his latest works at Iranshahr Art Gallery in November 2019. He is born in Isfahan (1983) and is a graduate of Isfahan Fine Art School, and later Tehran University of Arts, in M.A. in sculpture.

His mostly large-scale, abstract sculptures are created using the Iranian traditional “Khatam” technique. It involves juxtaposing hundreds and thousands of slim wooden and brass beams with a carefully arranged geometry. The whole structures are then carved in various angles depending on the intended form, but also according to the logic and aesthetic of their geometrical building blocks. The cuts create various sections on the geometrically arranged wooden beams, revealing numerous geometric patterns as well as their variations and transformations. The outside reveals what happens inside, and a whole new approach to sculpture-making is established.

These extremely elaborate pieces are the result of a laborious, lengthy procedure. The applied technique, as well as the painstaking approach, refer to Iranian traditions of art-making. However, they do not reproduce the tradition, but question it and use it to reach a totally different result. The sculptures do not have any external reference, nor they realize any ornamental purpose. They present a whole new concept of sculpture-making out of this creative method.

In his latest series, the artist ventures into burning parts of this intricate structure. He achieves different effects out of this procedure. In some pieces, the wooden parts have been burnt to ashes and the metal bars remain in a rusted quality. The burning process effectively endows another characteristic to the orderly, geometrical structure, and new aspects of the texture and material are revealed. The procedure is of great significance to Shirahmadi’s career, so whatever happens to the pieces or is imposed upon them, are all considered as part of the work.

Mehdi Shirahmadi has attended a number of local Sculpture exhibitions and biennials, including the 7th Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial and 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Tehran Urban Sculpture Biennial. He has also accomplished a number of public sculpture projects in Tehran. In May 2019, he attended Révélation 2019, The International Fine Craft and Creation Biennial in Grand Palais, Paris.

Mehdi Shirahmadi’s sculptures will be on display in Iranshahr Art Gallery on Nov. 8-21, 2019.