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Wahed Khakdan

  • Biography
  • Artworks
  • Exhibitions
  • Participations
  • Books

Born in 1950, Tehran - Iran
Education: Factuality of Decorative Arts
BA in Interior Architecture 1971-1976

Solo Exhibition
2012 Mah Gallery - Tehran
2010 Naar Gallery - Tehran
2009 Seyhoun Gallery - Tehran
2008 Homa Gallery - Tehran
2008 Ludwing Galleries Schloss - Germany.
2007 Galleries Kunstler, Oberhausen - Germany
2005 Sindelgrube Gallery, Vienna - Austria
2004 Gallery E.P. Dusseldorf - Germany
2002 Gallery Sindelgrube - Munchen - Germany
2001 Gallery E.P. Dusseldorf - Germany
1999 Gallery im Tzu - Oberhausen - Germany
1998 VHS - Essen - Germany
1996 Tifra Art Gallery - Maastricht - Holland
1995 Gallery Poly Print - Wuppertal - Germany
1995 Gallery im Stadtsparkasse - Germany.
1992 Gallery Kunstform Weiden, Koln - Germany
1991 Gallery E.P. - Dusseldorf - Germany
1990 Gallery Ardrea Krieger Dortmund, Germany
1989 Stadtische Gallery Schloss - Germany.
1988 Gallery im Burgermeisterhaus Werden - Essen - Germany
1988 Kultur Werkstatt Arka - Essen - Germany
1987 Kulture Zentrum K14 - Germany.
1986 Gallery Conen - Oberhausen - Germany
1985 Burg Vondern - Germany.
1981 The Museum of Contemporary Art Tehran
1979 Seyhoun Gallery - Tehran
1976 Talar - e - Iran Gallery -Tehran
1975 Ghandriz Gallery - Tehran
1974 Seyhoun Gallery - Tehran

     Wahed Khakdan was born in 1950 in Iran. His father was a prominent film and theatre stage designer. As early as two years old, Wahed became fascinated with painting material. Frequently visiting cinematic sites designed by his father, young Wahed was mesmerized by accessories, furniture, trees, etc. all made out of paper. An attic room in the house, always full of old objects, statues, toys, suitcases, etc., became his secret source of inspiration which still haunts his mind and constitutes his major subject matter: the accumulations of objects which either fill the whole picture plane or occupy a considerable part of the composition. He later studied at Art School and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tehran. In 1984, he moved to Germany.

His individual experience of homeland, tightly bound to drama and storytelling, has reflected in his complex, hyper-realistic paintings. A reflective yearning for the past is manifested in his deeply nostalgic approach to lost utopia, while his transnational situation has led to assimilation of Western traditional painting devices. Accumulation, immobility and restricted space mark his compositions. Frequent reference to scattered letters and suitcases highlight the exile experience. The objects do not immediately suggest their country of origin:
Sofas, sewing machine, the teddy bear, the hobby horse, the dismantled doll, letters and their stamps, suitcases and labels on them, the recurrent letter ‘A’, even the poses in the photographs do not bring Iran into mind, but are rather associated with a European culture.
The symbolism of Khakdan’s iconography can be thus cultural or individual. Direct hints to drama, art and fantasy are frequently recognizable through puppets and painting frames. Severe longing for home and endeavor to preserve every piece of memory is unmistakable, even in the artist’s painstaking reconstruction of every particle of dirt and dust.

Khakdan’s nostalgic approach is a reflective one. It is focused on individual stories that value details and signs. It “cherishes shattered fragments of memory and temporalizes space”. While “restorative nostalgia takes itself dead seriously, reflective nostalgia can be ironic and humorous.” It deals with memories rather than actual return to a place of origin or truth. In the same way, He does not seek to restore his historical and individual past. Rather, for him, home becomes a changing and ambiguous location, simultaneously situated in Iran and Germany, past and present, dream and reality, mediated and housed in the structure of his canvases.

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