Marcos Grigorian (born Kropotkin, Russia, 1925; died Yerevan, Armenia, 2007) was an Iranian-Armenian sculptor, painter, carpet weaver and installation artist. He was educated in Rome, worked in New York, acted as a villain and anti-hero in several Iranian films, and was a teacher of art in Teheran, one of the founders of Iranian modernism. 1
One of his earliest ground-breaking works was a cycle of murals on the theme of the Holocaust. These were a dozen panels 6 x 10 feet.
At the same time, he began adding earth to his artworks, a process that resulted in the Earthworks series, to focus on using earthen materials to symbolise man’s transient nature on earth. 2
He also began to experiment with the age-old tradition of carpet weaving, introducing an avant-garde design to its elements.
In 1970, Grigorian joined the faculty of art at the Teheran University, where he began to instruct young Iranians in the principles and philosophies of modern art. He himself had experimented in multiple styles (figurative and abstract) and media (as we’ve seen above, graphic, fabric, and installation), but he inculcated in his students a love and appreciation for traditional and folk art and their possibilities in the modern. On the other hand, his abstractions remained novel, especially for Iranian audiences, as he incorporated bread, baskets, straw and earth into his paintings. 3
- Hengameh Fouladvand, “Marcos Grigorian“, Encyclopedia Iranica, 2012.
- Marcos Grigorian, Earthworks (Exhibition catalogue), p. 128, Gorky Gallery, 1989.
- Staci G. Scheiwiller (ed.), Performing the Iranian State: Visual Culture and Representations of Iranian Identity, Anthem Press, 2013., p. 104.