Still Life with Eroded Bust of Diana the Huntress, Sneaker and Porsche
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Dimensions: 152.4 x 127 cm (60 x 50 in.)
Acquired from Perrotin, 2022
This work is from Arsham’s debut series of oil paintings. Despite depicting content consisting of contemporary objects, the style follows the genre of typical still-life painting. The goddess of Diana from Roman mythology (Artemis in Greek mythology), Nike sneakers, a Porsche model, an apple, a catalog from the design company Nendo, a withered bouquet of flowers – all elements rendered in blue, with sepia and gray accentuating the rest. These hues perhaps symbolize the colors within Arsham’s vision, influenced by his color blindness. Guided by Arsham’s intent, viewers interpret according to the order and colors depicted in this painting - specifically the blue objects, followed by the sepia-toned playing cards, hourglass, the fallen bottle, and the beaker. Diana signifies three aspects in the celestial world, on earth and hell: moon, chastity, and magic. The apple is a symbol of original sin, and books symbolize knowledge and learning. The Porsche presumably symbolizes wealth and success. The most emphasized element in this work might be the withering flowers. The composition of this work must have been a vanitas as the transience of life and death is depicted. Skull, which is popular to be included in vanitas, and withered flowers have a direct symbolic imagery of death. Life is limited and one must engage in hard work due to original sin. A 9 of clubs playing card is depicted in the center of the painting, which signifies intellectual inquisitiveness and anxiety in Western fortune telling. This work is Arsham’s original aesthetic of “Fictional Archeology”. To comprehend this work as a whole, the audience must interpret the allegory of the contemporaneity and fictitious characteristics in Arsham’s still life painting presented as vanitas.