Looking at Bahman Mohasses lonesome creatures I came to think about the men, women and children depicted in Forough Farrokhzad’s documentary “The House is black” (1962) about a leprosarium in Azerbaijan. Both artists are not afraid to create pictures of isolation, illness and ugliness, which society has deemed horrifying.
Mohasses’ portrait “Untitled” (1975) represents a male figure, which is completely isolated in front of a nondescript background. This impression is reinforced through bandages paralysing his body. Body and face are abstractly deformed, any individual characteristics are eroded. Communication with the viewer is not possible at all; the figure’s eyes are just two empty gaps and with his duct-tape mouth he is condemned to silence. Through the different treatment of shape and ground the work reminds us of a collage; the pasty colour application of the draperies function as modeling the male body more plastically and giving it a tactile dimension in its appearance, in contrast to the diffuse and unstructured background. The depiction of a fettered victim and the colouring create an atmosphere of corruption and decay. Mohasses’ amorphous and isolated creatures remind us through their aesthetics pretty much of the works of European modern artists, like Francis Bacon or Pablo Picasso. But also the artist’s self-enactment as lonesome autodidact, whose fear of losing the sovereignty in interpreting his works led to the destruction of a part of his creative productions, would fit into the obsolete narration of artistic mastery. But whether local or global, “Untitled” can be read as the artist’s self-portrait, whose uncompromising art led to his marginalization