ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, 09|17|2011 – 02|05|2012
Khosrow Hassanzadeh
* 1963 in Tehran (IR), lives and works in Tehran and London (UK)

The Terrorist Series: Nadjibeh, Azimeh, Khosrow
, 2004

Khosrow Hassanzadeh is an internationally active Iranian painter. Starting out as an artist in Tehran in the mid-1980s, Hassanzadeh achieved international recognition with the exhibition of his War Series at the London Diorama Arts Centre in 1999. These paintings, based on the artist’s firsthand experience of the Iran–Iraq war, are rendered in an expressive style, namely, with a foreign, Western perspective in mind. The same gaze-oriented approach to artistic work was to characterize Hassanzadeh’s future career: a tight-knit tapestry of issues of central importance for cultural visionaries and depictions of conflicts between Western and Arab worlds in the aftermath of 9/11.
In the Terrorist Series, Hassanzadeh portrayed himself and some members of his family who had been labeled as “terrorists.” These portraits are accompanied by images and signs indicating their nationality, belief, and history. The latter work reflects the artist’s commitment to detect and then depict traditional Islamic characteristics so as to question the Western prejudice claiming that terrorism is intrinsically rooted in Islamic culture and religion: “What is a terrorist? […] The West, with its personal definition of terrorism, gives itself the right to take over a country, while in the Middle East the West is clearly accused of being a full-fledged terrorist. In exploring these questions, I portrayed the people in whom I have the most faith: my mother and sisters.”[1] (SG)

[1] Khosrow Hassanzadeh as quoted from: Mirjam Shatanawi, “The Disquieting Art of Khosrow Hassanzadeh,” in: ISIM Review, 18, Autumn 2006, Leiden University.


Terrorist Series: Nadjibeh, Azimeh, Khosrow
, 2004