Shahpour Pouyan | "Full Metal Jacket"

18 April - 8 June 2011

Lawrie Shabibi is pleased to present Full Metal Jacket, a solo exhibition of young Iranian artist Shahpour Pouyan, curated by Ali Bakhtiari. This reflects Lawrie Shabibi's commitment to nurturing and promoting young regional talent. Pouyan is one of the most exciting new artists at work in Iran, his works typically merging lyrical Persian motifs with a contemporary commentary about domination and possession through the force of culture.

In this exhibition, Shahpour Pouyan presents five new major installation works of intricately decorated armour and antique-style military helmets produced by working closely with traditional armourers and metal-smiths.  Worked from metal and chain, Pouyan's "Projectiles" are meticulously adorned with traditional calligraphy, inlaid in gold and silver, whilst the fins are emblazoned with figurative etchings of birds and flowers, all of which recall classical eastern ornament.  Pouyan's use of helmets and chainmail, normally worn by soldiers or actors, gives his rockets an unsettling human-like appearance.  These suspended monuments are strong symbols of dominance and power, yet at the same time are light, refined and have an air of luxury.

Complementing these works are  paintings from two related series of paintings by Shahpour Pouyan, his Hooves and his Towers. In both series Pouyan juxtaposes an aggressive dominant form with intricately worked decoration reminiscent of Persian miniature painting and in so doing continues to explore notions of power, wealth and beauty. The hooves are suggestive of the Golden Bull, the most sacred of beasts for ancient cultures of Sumer, Babylon, Iran and also in Hinduism, whilst the towers are reminiscent of minarets and medieval Persian tomb towers. Through their attenuated forms, they also allude to the traditional Persian symbols of male strength and potency.

Shahpour Pouyan was born in 1979 in Isfahan, Iran and currently resides and works in Tehran, Iran. He has a Masters in Fine Art (Painting) from Tehran University of Art and a Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) from the University of Science and Culture.  Pouyan is the recipient of the Tehran Contemporary Museum of Art's grant of residence at International Cite Des Artes, Paris, France and has exhibited in various solo  and group exhibitions in Tehran, Dubai, Paris, New York, Beirut, Canada and Serbia.