Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam is one of the most prominent artists of the first generation of Iranian modern painters who chose a modern approach in creating exquisite works. Establishing his unique personal style, Vaziri Moghaddam boldly utilized unconventional materials to create works that to date have retained a sense of fresh creativity.
Sand compositions are one of the most remarkable periods of his career. The work on display is an example of this period. Vaziri Moghaddam created this work in 1962, the same year he became popular at the 31st Venice Biennale with a work titled Hands in Earth. Vaziri Moghaddam had a unique approach to Iranian abstract painting, producing these works by combining brown, black and bright sand on canvas. He abandoned representational painting during the 1960s and started experimenting with different materials, textures, and means of visual expression on various surfaces. These abstract paintings that are produced by the rapid movement of hands are specifically inspired by a movement known as Art Informel.
In his quest for a certain style and personal expression in application of material, Vaziri Moghaddam, as he himself put it, finally succeeded on the beaches of Albano Lake (south-east of Rome) which was filled with black sand. He remembers, “I took black sand from the beach and covered myself with it to amuse my friends. The marks produced by the movement of my hand on the black sand suddenly made me think. A new idea flashed through my mind. Childhood memories of playing with earth appeared before my eyes; the memory of something I had already done. An apparently aimless game suddenly turned into a profound visual experience. I stopped playing in front of the curious eyes of my friends; then took a plastic bag full of sand and returned to Rome. It was a great entertainment to produce forms on sand. However, it took me months before I could finally transfer the grooves I had produced on earth to the canvas.”
Not only are the sand works of Vaziri Moghaddam connected to one of the most significant trends in modern art, but they are also a reference to Primitivism. We can even go beyond that and compare them to mural paintings of primitive man painted on the walls of old caves. Therefore, the influence of early abstract art can be traced in the work of the artist. That is why many Western critics, including Laura Turco Liveri, Mario Bussagli, and Giulio Carlo Argan, attach so much importance to this period of Vaziri Moghaddam’s career.
The Italian critic, Laura Turco Liveri, for instance, wrote about his works of this period, “Immortal man-made marks and inscriptions on sand are like imitations, even though on a small scale, of the act of God who has imprinted His Wisdom on and inside the earth through a meaningful, abrupt movement. Then Earth discovers that Wisdom deep within and reflects it, transferring that Wisdom through pulses that are consistent with nature to the root of plants and to the earth on which living organisms tread as well as to the water in which other creatures are immersed. An abrupt movement for an immortal work on sand is Vaziri Moghaddam’s inspiration and this is where his collection of sand work is created as an expression of his constructive need to connect to a whole, in line with nature that is seeking an interconnection with the constant cycle of life. The physical contact of the hand with the earth and sand originates in our roots as well as in the water and sea. In other words, a gateway is opened through which a vibrant life-giving layer of the earth comes into this world. And this is what we need to seek in the sand works of Vaziri Moghaddam.”
 Pioneers of Iranian Modern Art, Mohsen Vaziri Moghaddam, Ruyin Pakbaz and Yaghoub Emdadian, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, 2004, p.41
 Pioneers of Iranian Modern Art, translation from Italian by Dr. Mansour Falamaki, p8