Farzad Kohan: Love, Migration, Identity

15 February, 2022


Self por­traits with cas­settes and tree, mixed media on Javanan pages, 13.5 x 10.5 inch­es, Farzad Kohan, 2022.


Farzad Kohan


Farzad Kohan’s sculp­tures and paint­ings explore themes such as love, migra­tion and iden­ti­ty, and often incor­po­rate appro­pri­at­ed media and found objects. Par­tial­ly inspired by his per­son­al his­to­ry and sur­round­ings, Kohan places an empha­sis on form, allow­ing the suc­ces­sive stages of art mak­ing to become anal­o­gous to dias­poric expe­ri­ence, as diverse, some­times oppos­ing, ele­ments are sam­pled, brought togeth­er, and accu­mu­lat­ed. These appar­ent stages are inte­gral parts of each final­ized work. Kohan’s for­mal­is­tic process is revealed, for exam­ple, as he lay­ers then strips abstract works through paint­ing, col­lage, décol­lage, and sand­ing, cre­at­ing built-up yet weath­ered sur­faces that are at once chaot­ic and method­i­cal. Allu­sions to the pas­sage of time, grad­ual trans­for­ma­tions, and hid­den sto­ries are found in the tac­tile details of his treat­ed panels. 

Text has also been cen­tral to Kohan’s com­po­si­tions, as he uses Far­si or Ara­bic script to add nar­ra­tive ele­ments. In “Love Let­ters,” a series of works on paper, he describes moments of long­ing and desire with poet­ic con­fes­sions that are writ­ten across the low­er por­tion of his com­po­si­tions. The artist’s vers­es cor­re­spond with the col­or schemes and tex­tured sur­faces of spe­cif­ic works, as abstrac­tion is used to detail the dif­fer­ent sen­sa­tions of roman­tic love. With his most recent series of paint­ings, Kohan records the migra­tion sto­ries of oth­ers through excerpt­ed texts or quotes that are writ­ten across the can­vas in Amer­i­can type­writer font, as though cre­at­ing an archival doc­u­ment. The forms of these unti­tled works are inspired by the very process of migra­tion, and reflect the dif­fi­cul­ties of assim­i­la­tion with tech­niques that attempt to uni­fy repel­lent mate­ri­als like oil and water based media. 

Along­side his sculp­tures and paint­ings, Kohan has exper­i­ment­ed with instal­la­tion, and also main­tains a large body of works on paper that he expands on a dai­ly basis. Although Kohan’s ink draw­ings reflect sim­i­lar themes, their fig­ures sig­nal a rep­re­sen­ta­tion­al depar­ture for the artist, as the thin, black out­line of a recur­ring man is del­i­cate­ly ren­dered and accen­tu­at­ed with Per­sian let­ters and num­bers in addi­tion to oth­er enig­mat­ic symbols. 


Iranian AmericanLos AngelespaintingTehranTehrangeles

Born in Tehran, Iran in 1967, Farzad Kohan lives and works in Los Angeles, where he first trained as a sculptor in the late '90s. Kohan has held solo exhibitions at Maria Behnam Bakhtiar, Monaco (2019), Tufenkian Fine Arts, Los Angeles (2019) Ayyam Gallery Dubai, DIFC (2016, 2013) and Seyhoun Gallery, Los Angeles (2006). Selected group exhibitions for the artist include Maria Behnam Bakhtiar (2022); Monaco; Tufenkian Fine Arts (2022 and 2019) Los Angeles; Advocartsy, Los Angeles (2016, 2015); Mim Gallery, Los Angeles (2015); Ayyam Gallery, Beirut (2015); Francis Boeske Projects, Amsterdam (2015); ABRA Gallery, Los Angeles (2011); Human Rights Awareness Tour, USA (2008); J Ferrari Gallery, Los Angeles (2008); Eagle Rock Center for the Arts (2008); and Phantom Galleries, Los Angeles (2007). Kohan’s works are held in private and public collections, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.


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