How far can you go with your BIC pen?

I was more than delighted when I saw the latest exhibition of the work of Ahmad Morshedloo at Assar Art Gallery in Tehran.

Ahmad Morshedloo draws, and he draws well.


I ask myself, however, why in this day and age of 3D binge computer digital mania would anyone still take pen to paper. I think it’s because drawing is personal and authentic. There is nothing in between the artist and the viewer but his pen or pencil. The fact that drawing is having a resurrection in our age of 3D printing and digital possibilities shows me that we as humans still need that personal touch. We are humans after all and, most of the time, humans like other humans. See for example Drawing Now Paris Fair dedicated exclusively to drawing.

People often think of drawing as the start of something else. But Ahmad’s work perfectly disproves this notion. His drawings stick in one’s brain like a haunting, moving enduring memory. It is art in its humblest, most sincere and best form. One board, one pen, one artist, one vision.


In his most recent exhibition at Assar gallery, Ahmed presents a series of portraits which are executed with incredible skill (just using an ink pen on a board). But it’s his subject mater which makes his new series even more exceptional.

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His subjects appear to be present, but absent, in some place deep in their own psyches. They look like they are waiting – perhaps at a bus stop, waiting, waiting, waiting – on a hot summer’s day in the Tehran pollution. When I look at them I can almost smell the gasoline and feel the summer heat.

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But that’s the true story of so many Iranians of my generation. The “waiting” game. Each time going to voting ballots hoping for something better, waiting for change. Each time hanging onto the words of people higher up, waiting for change. And yet the years continue to go by. Perhaps this answers the question of why some of Ahmad’s subjects look a little like they have been turned into stone. Stuck in time, stuck in the waiting game.

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Ahmad’s drawings show just how far and deep you can go with an ink pen and piece of board.


All photos courtesy of Assar Art Gallery.

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