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Opening: Saturday, 20 August 2016, 6pm


The first solo show in Germany with paintings by Reza Derakshani (born 1952) is being presented by the Kunstsammlung Chemnitz – Museum Gunzenhauser from 21 August to 16 October. Derakshani works as a painter, writer, musician, book illustrator, graphic designer, calligrapher and performer. The poetic pieces created by this multi-talented artist bear the hallmark of the influences on his work from traditional Iranian and classical western culture.

Reza Derakshani’s impressions garnered from going back and forth between the cultures of East and West are reflected in his painting as well as in his music and poems. Themes that he works on in his large-scale paintings also appear in his literary works. Derakshani’s artistic style developed through his intense engagement with the Iranian painting tradition, the art of American Abstract Expressionism, Neo-expressionism and other kinds of abstract painting. The unique style that emerged from all these various influences ranges from pure abstraction to a combination of abstract and figurative elements that draws on Eastern and Western cultures. The artist combines sentences written in Farsi (Persian) with non-representational painting, and Persian miniatures with abstract expressionism.

Derakshani’s pieces bear witness, above all, to his experience of emigration – returning to his Iranian roots on the one hand and the unpleasant feeling of alienation, loss and isolation on the other. Childhood motifs from nature (mountains, trees, flowers, fruit, the hunt) are juxtaposed with historical quotations from Persian literature (courting kings and queens, the rose, the nightingale) and contemporary imagery depicting the convulsions of the modern world (skulls, “black water”, “black sand”, exiled kings and queens). In contrast, his pure, abstract colour fields create a harmonious counterpoise, since the artist is concerned here solely to achieve an inner-pictorial balance.

Reza Derakshani was born in Sangsar in Iran in 1952 and grew up there. In 1976 he completed his first art degree in Teheran and went on to continue his studies in Pasadena in the US. He emigrated to America in 1983 in the wake of the Islamic Revolution. He lived in New York for 16 years and then in Italy, but he often visited Iran. Today the artist lives and works in Dubai, in the United Arab Republic and in Austin, Texas. His works are to be found in the collections of the British Museum in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art.

A bilingual catalogue in German and English will be published to accompany the exhibition, with texts by Ulrich Krempel and Ingrid Mössinger.

© Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz 2017