Memories of Destruction
Aydin Aghdashlou, from his biography:
And when the war began, I paid my humble due, with a half-burnt miniature by Reza Abbasi suspended in the air as pillars of the conflagration’s black smoke extended the darkness in the background. and the world itself told the tale of my memoirs of annihilation.
One had to be blind, or would have had to shut one’s door to the world and crawl into a hole, not to notice death’s incursion, and the young men who took it for nothing, who welcomed it without fear. Just like that miniature, flying in thick smoke, which is not dead even if it is crumpled. And I discovered many killed ones around me who were not dead, who do not die, who, for me, do not die.
And from this point on, all that was left was the tale of the disfigurement of youth and freshness, and there it was, the victorious Death, roaming; and I, unable to paint the faces of all the dead, was forced to fall back on metaphor, replacing the dead with miniatures and calligraphies and gildings, so that in acts of lamentation, seeking justice. I could become the narrator of the injuries conquering the land.
It was here that the crumpled miniatures, of which I made many, found their source, and ill were to point to a period of my work in which all my technical skills and my fundamental sensations came together to fruition, this would be it. In these works the technique and treatment of the seventeenth-century Isfahan School style were to be applied to the complex structure of a wrinkled and crumpled piece of paper, a process which called for a dual craftsmanship: on the one hand the pen would have to move strongly and freely, as if moving upon smooth paper; and on the other hand, the shades, curves, texture and color of the crumpled paper had to communicate a tangible and concrete reality. The harmony and coordination of these two distinct styles was, in fact, the meeting point of Eastern and Western arts and world views, the meeting point of two structures seeking and portraying the world, one on the plane of imagination and the other in an objective dimension.
The crumpled miniatures also spoke of my crumpling and that of my generation, and formalized a deep bitterness, a bitterness which was the outcome of a misunderstanding between my generation and a newly arrived, younger generation which, rather than learning and choosing with patience, had become used to quickly crumpling and throwing away.
Read more or see more paintings and illustrations