For the First Time Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Auction Includes Arab & Iranian Art

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Whether it was Obama or Bob The Builder who coined “Yes We Can” is not the point.  What is significant is the “Yes we can”, or rather, “Why not?” uttered by Sotheby’s Directors who decided to include the standalone Contemporary Arab & Iranian Art auction in their main Contemporary Art Auction which runs concurrent to London’s Frieze Art Fair next week.

And, Why Not? - the Arab & Iranian Contemporary sales over the past 2 years have established Sotheby’s as market leaders by consistently providing high quality art which holds its value and appeals across the spectrum.  Facts borne out by the diverse buyers’ base and the statistics of the sales: October 2007 saw the first auction of Arab & Iranian Contemporary Art which was a virtual sell-out achieving £1.5m, double the guide price; and the October 2008 sale netted £3.2m despite the dire economic climate.

Vital Statistics:
Auction 3pm Friday 16th October - Exhibition from 12-5pm Sunday 11th & 9am-430pm Monday 12th to Thursday 15th October.
Sotheby’s, 34-35 New Bond Street London W1S 2RT Click for map.
Tel: +44 20 7293 5000
Nearest Tubes: Bond Street and Oxford Circus.

According to Lina Lazaar, who with Dalya Islam put the show together, it can sometimes be difficult to escape the ‘confined and reductionist Arab and Iranian attribute’.  However, a quick review of the content in the auction confirms that, indeed, works such as that of Farhad Moshiri, Mohammad Ehsai, Mona Hatoum and Y.Z. Kami are more than justified marching alongside artists such as Antony Gormley, Marc Quinn or Tracey Emin.

For more images please click >

The works in the auction are relevant and speak of a human truth beyond the imagined exotica of having emanated from a region where perceptions are so highly nuanced.  From the ironic self reference of Farhad Moshiri’s Cowboy and Indian (above) or the absurd proportions of of Mona Hatoum’s Baalbek Birdcage (above) to the reductive calligraphy of Mohammad Ehsai reflecting the essence of a poem by Rumi (below) the art reaches out to its audience striving for dialogue.

A Selection of Images:

Contemporary Art Exhbition / Sotheby’s Middle East Department

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