Since his graduation in 2007 artist Ashkan Honarvar has been making a name for himself with his utmost fascinating collages in which he focuses on the dark side of humanity. Themes like colonialism, war, mass destruction, megalomania and other grotesque behavior are all observable in his progressively growing body of work. We particularly love his series of this year; ‘Conquest 5’ and ‘Identity Lost’ which was released in 2013. The series examine different visual languages, out of which the new images are created, but the results are equally haunting and show beauty in the most macabre images, exemplifying the enormous talent of Honarvar.
‘Conquest 5’ clearly addresses the (former) colonization of Africa and the still apparent motives of fiscal power and submission exemplified by the native element of the images. Honarvar lend its aesthetic from modern travel photography, which in many cases is still staged to display prescribed Western visions of tribalism in romantic Africa, reminding of Edward Said’s vision in the representation of the Orient. ‘Identity Lost’ examines another visual language; the medical photograph. In Honarvar’s images the artist seems to exemplify the loss of humanity of the figures in medical photographs for the sake of scientific objectivity, which results in beautiful/repulsive images of disfigured human beings.
Imperfections play a big role in my work. I’m always looking to find beauty in places you don’t expect them to be. I think subconsciously I’m trying to find beauty/aesthetics in the extremes, just to be able to believe that everything is ok and there is hope. I usually use images of the human body from medical books that I order online or in bookshops.
The incredibly talented collagist Ashkan Honarvar was born in Shiraz, Iran, grew up in our hometown Utrecht where he studied at the School of Visual Arts, and now lives in Norway. All of Ashkan Honarvar’s art deals with the darker sides of the human mind through the undeniable and unavoidable beauty of the human body. The universal human body, used as tool for seeking identity, is the focal point of his work. By dissecting and rearranging images with careful aesthetic vision, Honarvar creates work with an intriguing macabre darkness.
The artist was featured in a series of solo and group exhibitions over the last years mostly in Western Europe, but also in North- and South-America. His work has been published on- and offline in publications like Wallpaper, Vogue, L’Officiel and Interview Magazine. The artist is represented by the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City and CES Contemporary in Los Angeles.
For more information on the incredible work of Ashkan Honarvar see here.