Shirin Gallery NY is pleased to present the exhibition Steel and Silk: Comic Reflections, featuring the work of Kambiz Derambakhsh and Ardeshir Mohasses. The exhibition unites Iran’s prominent cartoonist, Derambakhsh, and leading satirist, Mohasses, whose different styles have influenced decades of Iranian comic and satire. Derambakhsh and Mohasses’ drawings are together in dialogue to reflect on the struggles of oppressed life. The show features a range of both artists’ works, including pieces from the Ardeshir Mohasses Trust. Criticality lingers at the center of these works, which explore social issues and individual predicament, through the comic lens.
Kambiz Derambakhsh’s careful and clean cartoons are about wandering through an obscure space, where the subjects exist in a geographic void. They suggest a sense of universality as they question relationships between humans. In contrast, Ardeshir Mohasses’s works on paper allude to more specific events and figures, historical and contemporary, Eastern and Western. References to the Qajar era are presented as Surrealist satire.
The exhibition shows several works by Derambakhsh, a skillful observer who, through sarcasm and jest, points to the flaws of society. His cartoons feature minimal, decisive lines, with an absence of detail and ornamentation. Derambakhsh gives the simplest image, and the widest space to breathe. “My stories are short and are not going to take much time from you,” he writes. “Through minimum lines, a big concept can be transferred.” A majority of Derambakhsh’s drawings are based on the loneliness and singularity of his illustrated figures. In this series, the subjects are drawn out of a lonely wander to face homogenous social systems. Derambakhsh masters the sarcastic cartoon by lingering between hysterical humor and hysterical fear.
Across from Derambakhsh’s drawings, Mohasess describes the experience of life in diaspora. The figures are constructed of energetic and caustic lines. In this selection of Mohasess’s works, the contemporary history of Iran falls in the form of a collage that narrates the revolution of 1979, adjacent to individual pieces that more broadly concern death. Mohasses, through the burdened, caricatured figures, whimsically reflects on the nature of revolution.
ABOUT KAMBIZ DERAMBAKHSH
Kambiz Derambakhsh, born in Iran in 1942, has produced work for four decades as a leading cartoonist, graphic designer, and illustrator. Derambakhsh has been the recipient of France’s highest decoration, the Order of Légion d’Honneur. He was also honored at 2008’s Aydın Doğan International Cartoon Competition in Istanbul. He has written and compiled a number of books, including the self-titled Kambiz, and Without Words, published in Italy and Iran, respectively. He has shown internationally at institutions such as the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Arts, Iran; Caricature & Cartoon Museum Basel, Switzerland; Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, Japan; Cartoon Museum, Istanbul, Turkey; and the Museum of Cartoon Art and Caricature, Warsaw, Poland.
ABOUT ARDESHIR MOHASSES
Ardeshir Mohasses, born in Iran in 1938, has established a career as a satirist for nearly six decades. Mohasses first published his work in 1951, and then, after studying both political science and law at the University of Tehran, he worked in the library of Iran’s housing ministry. In 1977, he moved to New York. His work has been published in multiple anthologies, and shown in several international institutions, including the 2008 retrospective at Asia Society in New York. He has also exhibited at Columbia University and The American Institute of Graphic Arts, both New York; the Persian Arts Foundation, Los Angeles; the Louvre and Musée d’Art Moderne, both Paris; Musée des Beaux Arts, Bordeaux, France; the International Biennial of Illustrations, Tokyo, Japan; and international art fairs in Basel, Switzerland, and Dubai Modern, among many others. He died in New York in 2008.
About the Ardeshir Mohassess Trust:
The Ardeshir Mohassess trust, founded in New York, is an educational, cultural, and charity entity established to honor Mohassess’s works and execute his wishes. The trust seeks to sustain, expand, and protect the artist’s legacy, and to safeguard and promote his lifelong contributions to art. Sales of artwork and contributions from the public at large are put towards preserving the late artist’s collection and, as per Mohassess’s wishes, offering financial aid to ailing and disabled artists.