Hossein Maher

The Vast Space within Painting

By Dr. Simone Wille

Hossein Maher’s work is imbued with a desire to unravel the many pasts that inhabit his country. He thus draws on a variety of mythological and historical images to situate imbricated histories together with his personal memories of the many places that he has visited and experienced. In his most recent works “Monuments” and “Legends” he re-visits the highly codified traditions of Persian miniature painting together with ancient mythology to create territories where the past is rescued from archives and memoirs. A recurring formal aspect of his work is a grid-like composition—as in the work “The Ten Commandments”—or a cross-like composition as in the works “Contemplation” or “Threat”.

In his “Monument” series, Maher juxtaposes images of towers, the monumental, the past, the static, along with images of figures. These works suggest an engagement of new temporalities with old cultural titillations in a space that is made possible by the artist. A fundamental aspect of this process is the desire to establish a connection to significant concepts and places through an investigation and commitment to form and imagination. Hossein Maher’s work is influenced by an abiding fascination with the real and the imaginary. His work integrates layers of signs into an organized and marvellous description of the world that surrounds us. While his aesthetics is deeply rooted in the many cultural traditions he encountered, Hossein Maher is a truly cosmopolitan artist addressing a global audience.