K+L+32+H+4. Mon père et moi (My Father and I)
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Charles Hossein Zenderoudi's K+L+32+H+4. Mon père et moi (My Father and I) is thoroughly cryptic and laden with symbols, from the title to the composition.

In this sense it recalls the work of Joan Brown and Jean-Michel Basquiat, making a personal, private dwelling for itself within a range of references, the more inaccessible the better.

Fereshteh Daftari describes K+L+32+H+4. Mon père et moi (My Father and I) as "mechanomorphic in articulation and fashioned with a craftsmanship reminiscent of Islamic metalwork...astrology, religion, and personal history are enmeshed." Daftari adds, "the crammed surface leaves no room for Western ideology." The problem with this sexy and authoritative-sounding declaration is that "Western ideology," if there is one such thing, is not at all separable from the various divinatory and spiritual elements listed in Daftari's essay, least of all Islam, which introduced a vast number of scientific and mathematical discoveries to Europe. What would "the West" be without science and math? In other words, Islam, amulets, astrology, etc., are just as Western as Christianity--or Paganism.

At the same time, Daftari has a point, in that the idea of the West is inextricably associated to the ever-lofty ideas of accessibility, popularity, penetrability, clarity, directness, transparency, etc. The Iranian/Persian tradition is linked to Zoroastrian roots which teach of a time of ]combat and admixture of darkness and lightness, or the relationship between the two.  

Zenderoudi's school, Saqqa-khaneh, emerges, in part, from the Persian calligraphic practice of Siyah Mashgh, which "literally translates to 'blackening exercise' which the artists practice technique by covering a whole page ink…[it] has become an art form in itself." In this way, the piling of signs on other signs to the point of incomprehensibility is an essential part of the artwork.

Want to know what "K+L+32+H+4" means? You'll have to ask the artist.



  1. Chérif, Mustapha. Islam and the West: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009.
  2. Daftari, Fereshteh. "Another Modernism: An Iranian Perspective." In Picturing Iran: Art, Society and Revolution, edited by Shiva Balaghi and Lynn Gumpert, 39-88. London: I.B. Tauris, 2002.
  3. Ebrahimi, Mehraneh. Women, Art, and Literature in the Iranian Diaspora. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2019.