For Iranian collector Mohammed Afkhami, art reflects his country’s history and future


For Afkhami, collecting so much comes from a desire to tell new stories, it is also a game of critical decision-making during chance encounters. When he first saw Farhad Moshiri Yek Donia (2007) in a 2007 Christie’s auction catalog, Afkhami overlooked the artist’s depiction of a world map encrusted with 90,000 Swarovski crystals and thought the high estimate of $ 80,000 was unrealistic . On the day of the auction, he landed in Dubai earlier than expected and made his way to the auction. “The work, which had a magnificent light effect, was installed at the entrance, I couldn’t believe it was the same work,” he recalls. “I didn’t have the budget when the seven-foot room skyrocketed from estimates. He ignored his financial constraints and made the winning bid, collecting the work for $ 601,000, nearly eight times the estimate, a record for Moshiri’s work and one of the highest prices ever. paid for a contemporary Iranian artwork. The piece is currently hanging in Afkhami’s living room, but its global impact goes far beyond. “It set the tone for the whole region and showed that Middle Eastern art can be valued at a price comparable to Western auctions,” he said.

Besides aesthetic and analytical motivations, artistic friendships contribute to Afkhami’s understanding of the collection. ‘s 82 x 120 inch blue washed paint We haven’t landed on Earth yet (2012) carries characteristic traits of the Brooklyn-based artist’s visual lexicon, such as gestural horizontality, discreet chaos and poetic drift. “Pick any location and you’ll experience another detailed brushstroke,” Afkhami said of the Nocturnal Painting. He finds Banisadr’s amalgamation of his post-revolutionary experience interwoven with tributes to the canon of European history painting inspiring, while the artist feels the same about having a friend and a patron who invests in change. “One of the most important topics of our discussions has always been how culture and art can show another side of how Iranians are viewed in the media,” Banisadr said. “You can see on this show how passionate he is about the art and the artists he collects.”


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