We are very pleased to present the first gallery exhibition in Germany of Reza Derakshani (*1952 Sangsar, Iran). The painter, poet, musician and performance artist is considered – both in the Middle East and in the West – as one of the most important Iranian artists today.
After immigrating to the USA in 1983 in the wake of the Islamic Revolution, Derakshani’s cos- mopolitan identity led him to reflect aspects of Western abstraction in his work. In addition, abstract expressionism greatly influenced his work during the many years spent in New York, where he was in close contact with artists such as Francesco Clemente, Shirin Neshat and Cy Twombly.
After experimenting with pure abstraction, Derakshani developed his very own personal artistic language, uniting both abstract and figurative elements from Persian culture with the tradition of Western painting. In his work, the figure often retreats to the background, giving priority to more painterly intentions. The diversity of elements in his oeuvre enables him to achieve a highly concentrated, dynamic mode of artistic expression.
The exhibition’s name refers to the series Black Water, which is devoted to portraits of im- portant female singers and female poets from modern Iran, who have been denied their artistic expression in recent history. Characteristic of these works is their reduction of colour – and often also of pictorial spatiality. The distinctly painted women’s faces give way to the hazy, shimmering silhouettes of their bodies standing in ‘black water’. The series is a homa- ge to these personalities, depicting their strength and their vigorous smiles in spite of the complex times.
Today, Derakshani’s works are found in numerous renowned international collections, muse- ums and private collections – for example, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in the British Museum, London, and in the Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art.
Reza Derakshani recently held solo exhibitions in the Chemnitz Kunstsammlungen and the State Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.