Mehrdad Khataei

After receiving his postgraduate degree in Fine Art, Mehrdad Khataei began teaching at the University of Tehran, where he founded its first printmaking studio.

His works have been presented in numerous national and international biennials and exhibitions in which he achieved several international prizes. Many of his prints are currently being held in the collections of the Library of Congress, Washington DC, Tama Art University Museum, Tokyo, International Biennale of Graphic Art, Łódź, and the Museum of Printmaking, Acqui Terme.


Mehrdad Khataei’s practice is defined by an absolute contemporary and creative approach. Born in Tabriz and educated in Tehran – where he now teaches, educating Iran’s national cadre of artists – Khataei undoubtedly regards himself as a person of Iranian background who is tied to the Iranian national experience, or the “Iranian legend,” as he describes it.

Khataei regularly employs concepts surrounding globalisation in his drawing and printmaking works. Regarding himself as a quintessentially contemporary artist, one whose relationship to materials and techniques is medial rather than narrowly professional. In other words, he strives to ‘squeeze’ as much as possible out of media to achieve the goals he desires.

For him, the choice of various forms of drawing and printmaking (techniques such as aquatint or drypoint are by definition archaic, affectedly traditional) is not a matter of mere taste or expertise; instead, he personalises and internalises these techniques as vehicles for expressing a given content.

That is, he uses them as catalysts for cutting-edge artistic ideas: for methods of mediation, for various types of allusion and for a variety of techniques ranging from surrealistic displacement to intellectual montage. Without considering these ‘instrumental-representative functions’ in the words of Catherine de Zegher, it is difficult to understand the main features of Khataei’s authorial world-view, of his individual poetics.