Comparable to so many artists of his generation, Kourosh Salehi is building bridges between the Middle East and the Western world. With his reinterpretation of Michelangelo’s Pietà (1498-99) in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican he creates a touching version, which fusions photography and sculpture, history and the present, religious imagery with contemporary Western lifestyle and seemingly Iranian protagonists. It shows, that all these elements, which we often think as diametrically opposed, are peacefully united in one picture. The cloud, symbolizing god, is hovering silently above the heads of the mourning Mary and her dead son. Jesus wears worn-out jeans, while his torso remains naked as in the original from the Renaissance. Additionally, what we realize is, that Mary’s veil ideally harmonizes with the Christian form of representation. This photographic reinterpretation of a major Christian subject by a Muslim artist in a contemporary way has nothing blasphemous, but in the polar opposite of this estimation is building massive bridges between the different realities and worlds, between East and West – striving for peace, respect and mutual understanding for the entire humanity. The artist Kourosh Salehi dedicated this work, which shows Mary's last moments with her son to all mothers in recent wars.
The series "Children of Adam" by Kourosh Salehi was photographed in Iran with the help of young Iranians in 2012.
The specialist in contemporary art from the Middle East, Janet Rady, comments in a review about Salehiʼs work: “He is part of a group of post-revolution Iranian artists who have merged East-Western traditions and have invented a new language of exile, and in this regard is considered as one of the significant painters of his generation.” He is delivering “a universal message, reminding us that we are all products of our past, with which we need to come to terms in order to navigate our future successfully”.
Kourosh Salehi, Last Supper, Children of Adam Series, 2012
In his compositions Kourosh Salehi works with Christian subjects such as the Pieta or as here The Last Supper, reinterpreting them in a contemporary way. With his Last Supper he refers to Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic fresco (1494-1497) in Milan. Salehi now transforms the image into a mundane scene of freely arranged young urban, presumably Iranian, men. The symbolically relevant wine has been replaced by Coke and the importance of this beverage in the scene is underlined by the fact that it’s colored. Besides the obliteration of the protagonists’ eyes, these are only colored elements in this black and white photograph. And as in all the photographs from this series, a cloud hovers in the air above the head of the man, representing Jesus Christ. Additionally, he is the only person whose mark in front of his eye is green, while all the others have blue marks, with one exception: One man’s mark is pink, and indeed his posture can be best compared with the one of Judas in the original – but not its order. As said, the “disciples” are arranged freely in this photograph. The cloud is perhaps symbolizing the eternal presence of god. Disconcertingly, one of the young men points a gun directly at the viewer. On the wall in the background an Iranian 19th century Coffee House can be identified, reinforcing the transposed Iranian setting of the scene.
Kourosh Salehi, Touch of Life, 2012
In his photograph Touch of Life (2012) from the Children of Adam series we recognize The Creation of Adam (c. 1512) by Michelangelo, one of the most iconic pictures of art history of all time. In his black and white photograph, Salehi has changed some relevant details and consequently brought the whole scene down to earth, to everyday life: Lying comfortably on a sofa, a young man of color hands a remote control to another young man, who is relaxing on cushions on the floor, wearing only undershirt and sweats, while the man on the couch wears worn-out jeans. Compared to the original, “Adam” is well dressed. As the first human on earth, he self-evidently usually depicted naked. Thus, Kourosh Salehi reinterprets the monumental fresco humorously, but also socio-critically. The only colored elements in this image ironically are the mattes in front of the eyes of the protagonists, which normally are black, but here are pink and blue respectively. In Kourosh Salehi's version, the majestic scene has turned into one of laziness and casuality, but also of equality.
Sizes: vary according to the order
Medium: Photographic Print on Paper (High Resolution)
Limited Edition Prints of 4 with 1 AP
Price: on request