Shahnameh | 2008

“The Frenzied Heart of Mine, Houses the Passionate Countenance of Thine”

Re-Pixilation: The PIXEL Revisited


Digital revolution in photography provided the medium with multiple new possibilities. Digital technology has transformed the world into a virtual one. The world was thus introduced into a different experience of visual experience. “Pixel” was now a new visual possibility.

The Shahnameh of Shah-Tahmasp (Shah Tahmasp’s Book of Kings) is one of the most well-known illustrated manuscripts of Shahnemeh. A significant features of Persian painting is its intuitive and subjective quality. The Iranian artist would make use of everything nature has to offer, such as humans, plants, soil, and rocks. Nevertheless, he never seeks to objectively recreate its visual qualities, but tries to explore nature, humans, and settings, and interpret its themes and content, so as to present it in a different light. Meanwhile, this mental image is laid out in great detail.

The artist lives and creates in the present. He draws inspiration from the past, and his work flows in time, into the future. The paradox that became apparent to me through these photographs was the contemporary definition of the intuitive aspect of paintings in the digital age: the improvisatory nature of these works as they are translated into the digital world. The importance of these works lies in the accuracy of their details. And that is how they are formed in the digital world: with “pixels.” These works were the result of an exploration as I was seeking to approach the history and art of my homeland, Iran, in a new way.

Mehrdad Afsari