These Absurd Visual Artworks Probe the Boundaries of the Visually Possible

The world of surrealism can sometimes be frightening and irritating, other times it can open up our imagination to things we would love to see in real life. Iranian visual artist Farhad Khodayari’s surrealism mixes the monumentally absurd with the awe-inspiring.


Be it whales smashing into lighthouses or huge ravens acting as rocks in the sea – Farhad has perfected the art of adapting subjects for completely new environments. Playing with his audience’s perception, Farhad makes everything and anything possible. This liberty is important to the 29-year-old: “I want my viewers to imagine messages by themselves.”

In an inspiring interview, Farhad took us on a trip through his ever-expanding world of surreal creativity.

THE PLUS: As an introduction, how would you describe your style?
Farhad Khodayari:
It’s not easy to describe my style in words. It’s all about imagination, dreams and mixing these with reality. All the elements I use in my work are not unfamiliar to us, but just like a dream I mix them all. I imagine them as a glorious scene.


TP: You like modifying reality, be it by changing the scale or the appearance of your subjects. What is the message you are trying to get across?
I’m not actively trying to convey or push any meaning or message upon my audience, I want them to imagine certain kinds of messages by themselves. This way they can inspire themselves in their own personal way. I would like to add that every single one of my audience’s views is acceptable for me.

TP: What do you like about surrealism?
Surrealism is a very magical thing, it’s deeply wonderful. By binding together real things we see in everyday life, I can make new wonders which are really exciting for me.


TP: You frequently use fog and mist in your images, creating a mysterious atmosphere. What are your thoughts behind this?
There are some feelings that are both thrilling and yet so close to my heart, and these emotions are always the result of vagueness. Vagueness is the essence of mist and fog, and these two elements always help me to foreground a sense of vagueness and thrill.

TP: Whales have played a role in your work. Has there been an experience that emphasized your interest for them? What fascinates you about them?
Except for watching them on screens, unfortunately, I have had no experience with whales up to now. But as far as I have studied them, they are always on a never-ending journey, which I think compares to how humans live – both of them are trying to survive. For this reason, I sense that the whales’ lives are strangely close to those of humans, which makes me use whales in different contexts in my artwork. In fact, they are a symbol of me and my life.


TP: Do you plan or write down what you want to create, or do you start off when inspirations come to you spontaneously?
Both. Sometimes I plan an artwork and then look for the elements to make it, which is when I want to convey a message directly. Other times I get inspired by just seeing something in natural context or in a picture. Then I start to make my artwork without any hesitation.

TP: Do you enjoy manipulating your audience’s perception? How did you come up with this kind of art?
It’s an honestly enjoyable experience for me. I try to put myself in the audience’s place and avoid showing my intentions. I transfer elements I want to simultaneously be popular and a guidance instead of a direct message. This is why I always ask my audience to tell me what notions they get from my work. I enjoy hearing the different answers and they give me ideas to use in my future works.


TP: In your caption for Echoes of God, you state: “Maybe one of the darkest and most favourite works I made.” Do you prefer night or day scenarios?
Darkness and a sense of thrill are my all-time favourites, so I like to picture myself in night scenarios. Echoes of God is composed of every single element that I like and these elements make me confront my audience. It is a symbol of human’s life and everything that is essential within it, like history, religion, society, materialism and more.

TP: How do these elements make you feel?
All of them can be very frightening because of the details and that dark notion behind them. I paid close attention to every detail in the design, which makes it my favourite work up to now.


TP: What are your thoughts on having a large following on social media?
There is nothing wrong about having a large following. Having huge follower numbers enables me to get more feedback and get to know many people, both things that keep me motivated!

TP: If you had the chance, which of your works would you bring into reality?
Honestly – every single one of them. If I did have to choose one, I could never do it. I would have to choose every one of them.