Mehdi Sahabi

Mehdi Sahabi

Mehdi Sahabi was a painter, sculptor, photographer, writer, translator, and journalist; a faceted prism of Iran’s art and culture. He was a national asset who opened glorious windows to literature and the visual world for Iranian audiences. It is not far from truth to say that finding a multidimensional person like Sahabi, whose different aspects are indistinguishable from one another, is not an easy task. He was like an encyclopedia all in one, as if seven forms of art had each taken up a corner of his life.

Sahabi shined brightly in every profession he chose to the extent that his colleagues in each field believed he belonged entirely to that profession, and then he would move on to another field. It is like Sahabi was a painter who in search of new visual layers, turned to writing, translation, and journalism. Photography was a continuation of painting, while painting was a brush he used for making his photographs and sculptures.

To Sahabi everything around him was merely raw material to create a piece of art, each medium a separate vessel, and the final artwork the content of these different vessels. He saw the world as a patchwork and was always eager to find a new language. Sahabi mastered the art of connecting the different layers of his art.

From the outside it seemed as if he was constantly abandoning one profession for another, but in fact without cutting ties with his previous profession, he was repeating the same experience in different ways, each time making it purer and more original. Like a beautiful lining he preserved the layers of his previous experiences in the background of his later creations, even if that previous layer was only a hint, a subtle component, or a small act of playfulness.

Sahabi was a modern artist who always went a few steps beyond his time. It could be said that he was a modernist by nature and was sincerely immersed in this belief because he never had any painting, writing, or language lessons and had not been taught by a teacher. The title of defender of Iranian modernism truly befits him. Sahabi’s artworks always make viewers think; tickling them and throwing stones in front of their feet.