From his rich, colourful and uncompromising oeuvre, it's easy to see why Khosrow Hassanzadeh is one of Iran's leading contemporary artists. A former fruit seller and volunteer soldier, he cuts an unusual figure in Tehran's high society art scene. Hassanzadeh works primarily with photography, collage, painting and mixed media, often layering contemporary images and photographs with figures drawn from Persian illuminated manuscripts and Farsi calligraphy. His stark paintings of figures wrapped in burial shrouds are reminiscent of Philip Guston's cartoon-like style but with a sinister immediacy; these images of shrouded corpses are seen all too often in today's tormented Middle East. Treating subjects as diverse as the Iran-Iraq war, murdered prostitutes, women in chadors and Iranian wrestlers, Hassanzadeh's multi-layered, humanist works place individuals at the centre of things and unflinchingly examine harsh political realities. The fact that his work is mainly exhibited outside Iran despite its focus on contemporary Iranian society makes for an intriguing, though slightly uneasy relationship with the Western art world.
Each series is prefaced with an essay by leading scholars and critics contextualizing the work.