Barbad Golshiri studied painting at the School of Art and Architecture at the Azad University in Tehran. His diverse practice is based on a deep interest in language, literature, and art history, from the Persian poetic tradition to Samuel Beckett and Kazimir Malevich. Often incorporating photographic processes, his work in installation and performance centers on a consistent interest in Iranian culture and history.
Oil on Canvas is a straightforward yet subtly layered view of the late Mono-ha artist Noriyuki Haraguchi’s landmark sculpture Matter and Mind at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA). For the museum’s opening in 1977, Haraguchi (1946–2020) installed a pool filled with oil in the central atrium of the museum. The artist returned to restore the work in 2017, and Golshiri shot this image a few days later. Reflected in the mirrorlike surface of the sculpture are elements of the museum’s notable architecture, as well the facing portraits of Ruhollah Khomeini and Ali Khamenei typically found in Iranian public spaces after 1979. The warm tone of Golshiri’s image, as if viewed through a film of crude oil, presents a multilayered commentary on the political history of modern Iran.