Shahpour Pouyan’s art questions whether military strength or cultural achievement marks the high points of history. His Projectiles are metal sculptures suspended in space that merge forms reminiscent of missiles and drones with those of antique Iranian helmets and chain mail. Pouyan was born during the Islamic Revolution, the son of a military engineer, and his childhood was consumed by the eight years of the Iran-Iraq War; his art, however, draws as much from the refined cultural heritage of his homeland as from its war-torn past. He works with artisanal metalsmiths, who fabricate traditional armor still used for costumes in the Shiite passion plays and religious rituals that are closely linked to Iranian nationalism. The ornamental floral patterns, birds, and calligraphy etched into the metal and inlaid with brass and gold bring a surface elegance and lightness to these symbols of dominance and militaristic power.
- Installation Views
Shahpour Pouyan earned MFAs from both Tehran University of Art and the Pratt Institute in New York, and served as an instructor in the history of art and Persian architecture at Tehran’s Science and Culture University. His art takes inspiration from traditional Iranian craftsmanship and the weapons of warfare, elements familiar from his formative years set against the backdrop of the Iran-Iraq War.