The worlds in between
What is to be seen in the first place is a splash - a splash of color - bright and rich in it´s intensity. But at the second look, lines from ink and pencil appear from the splash and form delicate shapes and figures. By following the lines, the eye reaches another figure, which is followed by an animal or an undefined creature. A leg turns into a snake, a beautiful woman evolves from a stone and entwined arms form patterns and abstract forms. The figures are dancing across the paper as dynamic and lively as the vivid colors. It can be seen as an explosion or as a melting pot, bringing together symbols and stories of different cultures and times.
This is melting pot of Berlin-based Iranian artist Shahram Entekhabi. Being born 1963 in Beroujerd, Iran and immigrated to Europe with the age of 16, he has experienced many different cultures. His ideas, thoughts and stories are gathered in these drawings and show the contradictions and similarities of the different cultures that he has lived in.
Also Entekhabi´s choice of drawing materials reflects the different cultures. This is especially seen in one series of Entekhabi´s works, where he combines biro drawings with splashes of gold dust. The biro stands for the typical european working environment whereas the gold is a common color in religion and daily life of the persian culture.
These materials also show interesting contrasts in other ways: The colors yellow/gold and blue are complementary colors. Whereas the cheap tool biro allows shades and dimensions, the precious gold glitters stays one flat shape.
What can be seen in his drawings seems to be from a different world. Men with exotic costumes and human-like animals give a trace to the endless world of fairytales that are here told in a contemporary way. In one image a man with a suit and tie comes out of a lamp like an Aladdin and kisses the paw of a jackal. Apes that conduct or dogs that carry people on their back underline the surreal character of this scenery.
Close to the metaphor of the fairytale lies the tradition of storytelling that is a very important tool of imparting culture and also an unforgettable part of everyones childhood. Being grown up one questions the importance of the stories that had such great impact on the child’s mind and last in the memory forever.
What stays unclear is if these drawings picture a fight between the cultures and an unsurmountable difference or if they show an enriching manifold collection that one builds up in the lifetime. Maybe this is the every days battle of an immigrant.
With these drawings, Entekhabi reflects this situation in an ironic way.
And rather quietly, critique against these cultural ideologies that human beings are confronted with can be read in between these worlds.
Ilka Tödt,Art Historian and Curator, Berlin and Eiskellerberg TV Cologn, Germany