There Is Beauty In The Macabre
You know the feeling when you’re driving down the interstate and you spot a horrific massive car accident, and you can’t take your eyes off of it? It’s the feeling of awe and repulsiveness, of sorrow and the curiosity for the grotesque. Artist Ashkan Honarvar is able to recreate that same feeling with his art, and just like that car accident you can’t stop staring.Honarvar is a young artist native of Iran, who enjoys the freedoms from The Netherlands. He possesses a raw talent to portray the macabre through art. His focus is on looking for what would be considered revolting mainstream, and converting it into something meaningful. He insists on finding beauty on something that was considered to be normal once, but due to different circumstances in life was converted into something no longer looked upon as acceptable by the beauty standards of our society.
From soldiers who were deformed during WWI and WWII, to people who suffered different deformities and mutilations due to a disease, to victims of war, Ashkan Honarvar’s works hunts you and plays with your senses in a way that no horror movie could. He paints, draws, and works with collages (mainly using old pictures from soldiers sporting deformities from WWI). The latter type of work is one that might be able to make you feel the most uncomfortable. While he has created a series of personal works called “Faces”, they are all created in different ways, however, they all have in common the fact that they emphasize the post-war deformed faces of soldiers after they came back home from war. In some instances, he does a collage which consists of the before picture of the soldier and their post-war pictures placed on such a way as to highlight their traumatic return to normal life with their “new” faces, which needless to say must have never been the same. Also, his canvases based on the recent events in Iran are also very haunting. Of course he is also able to portray the masses’ point of view on beauty, but he is able to do it with a twist. It seems like he is searching for beauty on the monstrous, and the evil and ugly on what we call acceptable.
Believe it or not, his works have been subjected to censorship in The Netherlands back in 2009. Now, this comes as a shock in a country that is so liberal with certain things, and even has acquired quite a reputation internationally for their loose ways (obviously exaggerated by ignorance). Is this perhaps because Honarvar’s works defies all that is considered to be beautiful and comfortable to the eyes of the masses? Say what you like, but this artist’s work is strong… but it doesn’t mean that it should be subjected to censorship when in reality he is just highlighting the after shocks of war, massacre, and the vulnerability of the human body.