The key to this piece is revealed through its Persian text. Rendered in a font and format often used in a traditional newspaper death notice, it commemorates a political dissident who was denied an actual tombstone. The work was intended to function as a stencil, its Kafkaesque text, when activated by charcoal dust, temporarily acknowledges one man’s sacrifice. The epitaph reads: "Here Mim Kaf Alif [literally, his initials, M. K. A.] does not rest. He is dead. Layer beneath layer dead. Depth beyond depth. Each time deeper. Each death deeper. Stone upon stone. Each stone deeper. Each stone a death. Mim Kaf Mim Alif has no stone. Has never had. No trace of it (also to be understood as: so be it). Never in all deaths. December came and Mim Kaf Mim Alif was no longer [there]. Is not."
Based in Tehran, Barbad Golshiri belongs to a new generation of artists whose work responds directly to the constraints imposed by the politics and ideology of the Iranian government. The Untitled Tomb was a focal point of Golshiri’s second one-man show in New York, at Thomas Erben Gallery in 2013, presented as a kind of sculptural cemetery memorializing martyrs to Iran’s ruling regime.