Galerie Huit | 1 May 2016

Unveiling the Messages behind Mehrdad Sadri’s Paintings


Enlarged folds and creases float mysteriously in a palette of flesh tones with no traces of ends or beginnings, seducing the viewers to fall into a world of fantasy in the creator’s mind. This is what you would experience when you look at the large paintings by Iranian artist, Mehrdad Sadri. But what is behind the folds? It is a key question in our mind.

We are delighted to conduct an exclusive interview with Sadri, whom has resided in Vienna since 1968, discussing the ideas behind his work and how Persian culture influences his view of the world.


“There is a very strong cultural relation between me and my art,” states the artist. As Islamic art is mostly based on geometrical forms derived from nature, Sadri extracts folds from its everyday triviality, and uses them as a tool which symbolises a spiritual transcendence of materiality over the years. “In Islam, it’s not acceptable to draw images of what God has created. It’s even more sensitive to draw images of the human “ the artist infers.

light without sun

Light without Sun II, Oil on canvas, 160 x 120 cm, 2012

Sadri’s paintings are distinguishable through such abstract depiction, here, he metamorphoses the human physiognomies. “It’s more interesting to show the beauty of the human body indirectly, as it lets viewers discover what’s hidden behind the folds without constraining their interpretations of the work”.

Persian language and literature have also been a source of inspiration for the artist. “One word can carry different meanings which the reader can decide from the written text,” he explains. To explain, the word ‘Yaar’ can be used to describe a friend, a lover or even God. Sadri’s intention to show ambiguity encourages open interpretation of his canvases.

“Creases and folds in a silk fabric can help with expressing the complicated layers and curtains of the human mind and showing never ending experiences,” The artist suggests that the world we see is not the reality, since we are all subject to our opinions and interpretations. It is our subconscious mind that speaks the truth. “It is only after seeing man as his unconscious, revealed by his dreams, presents him to us that we shall understand him fully,” Sigmund Freud (from Sigmund Freud, Joyce Crick, and Ritchie Robertson, The Interpretation of Dreams (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999))


Josephine, Oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm, 1998

Sadri proffers “Eroticism and sexuality are big parts of my art,”  The fortuitous falls of folds in his paintings are metaphors for the natural forces of generation and change, the human physiognomies, and most importantly, the relation between the object worlds produced by human and his state of mind.”The folds are tools to tell the truth, but not the absolute truth”.

Combining elements of his Iranian heritage and cultural background with western abstraction, Mehrdad has successfully incorporated daily triviality into his own language which opens his inner most world. The reality is concealed beneath the surface of the folds. The spatial illusions of the folds allude to human figures in infinity, which are the embodiment of desires, dreams and wishes from the artist’s subconscious mind. The truth resists simplicity.


Mehrdad Sadri’s Hong Kong debut solo exhibition ‘Images of Reality’ will open at Galerie Huit on 12 May. Please click here for more information.