Akbar Behkalam: Movement and Change. Paintings and Sketches, 1977-88

Essay by Abbas Daneshvari

Availability: In stock
Published: 1989
Page #: vi + 112
Size: 9 x 12
ISBN: 0-949214-37-7
plates, index


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Quick Overview

Artists from many countries live and work in Berlin. Their number is large, and for some of them, this city has become a second home. Since arts grow out of past tradition, so analysis of it oversteps national borders including foreign and other influences. Analysis commences in the multitude of new expanding cultures and new artistic contributions. This liveliness and innovation contribute to the present state of affairs in Berlin art.
The painter, Akbar Behkalam, born in Tabriz, Iran, has been at home in Berlin for many years. In his paintings and sketches, he repeatedly has questioned the interrelationship of the present to past history. He has tried to newly define these interrelationships. Oriental-Islamic and European cultures are united in his work. When encountering his work, the observer is forced to question the picture of the world and with it the picture of humanity itself.

Behkalam has shown his works in many exhibitions in Europe, Asia and North and South America. In 2009 he has been the winner of the Tashkent Biennial in Uzbekistan.

Solo exhibitions (selection)
1975 Seyhun Gallery Tehran, Iran
1981 Kunstamt Kreuzberg-Bethanien, Berlin, Germany
1982 Kunstverein Offenbach, Germany
1982 Städtische Galerie Schloß Oberhausen, Germany
1987 Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
1987 Städtische Galerie Schloß Oberhausen
1987 Museum Bochum, Germany
1987 Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Germany
1988 Übersee Museum Bremen, Germany
1989 California State University, Los Angeles, USA
1990 Phoebe Conley Art Gallery, Fresno, USA
1991 International Gallery on Broadway, Los Angeles, USA
1991 Workshop III, Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil
1993 Villa Oppenheim, Berlin, Germany
1998 Gallery Georges Pompidou, Anglet/ Frankreich (with Bernd Kaute and Johannes Heisig)
2005 Spreeport, Ver.di, Berlin
2006 Kunsthalle Arnstadt (with Dorsten Klauke and Trak Wendisch)
2010 Galerie Linneborn, Berlin
Group exhibitions (selection)
1977 Hommage à Nazim Hikmet, Kunstamt Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany
1980 Künstler gegen den Krieg, NGBK, Berlin, Germany
1981 30 Jahre BBK, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
1983 1933 - Wege zur Diktatur, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
1983 300 Jahre danach, Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien, Austria
1983 Eine Woche im September, Galerie Hilger, Wien, Austria
1984 Rationalisierung, Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin, Germany
1984 Otto-Nagel Preis 1984, Rathaus Wedding, Berlin, Germany
1984 Ich lebe in Deutschland, Städtisches Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany
1984 Goethe Institut Brüssel; Galerie Schöneberg Berlin, Germany
1984 Der Krieg trifft jeden ins Herz, Palast der Künste, Minsk, Russia
1986 Das andere Land, Groß Orangerie, Schloß Charlottenburg, Berlin / Museum Bochum / Paulskirche, Frankfurt/Main / Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken; Kultur unterm Turm, Germany
1986 15 Berliner Künstler in Brasilien, Museu de Arte de São Paulo / Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
1986 Berliner Stadtansichrten, Wien, Amsterdam, Nimwegen, London, Istanbul, Paris, Bonn, Berlin
1987 15 Berliner Künstler in Brasilien, Paco Imperial, Rio de Janeiro / Centro de Convencoes, Recife, Brazil
1987-1988 Momentaufnahme (Wanderausstellung durch Brasilien) Joao Pessoa, Paraiba / Museo de Arte Contemporana / Blumenau, Porto Allege, São Paulo, Curitiba / Caracas, Venezuela
2009 5th Taschkent Biennial, Uzbekistan. First Prize.


Akbar Behkalam

Akbar Behkalam was born in Tabriz, Iran on 16 September 1944, the capital of the Iranian province of East Azerbaijan. From 1961 until 1964, he studied art at Tabriz Art School. After his military service he moved to Istanbul, where he enrolled at the Mimar Sinan University in Fine Arts and became the student of Professor Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu. From 1972 until 1974, he lived in different European cities, including Paris, Frankfurt, Rome and Berlin. In 1974, he went back to Iran, to teach at the Tabriz Art School. In 1976, he left Iran for political reasons, and has since lived in Berlin.  In 1989, he published the book, Movement and Change Paintings and Sketches: 1977–1988. 
Akbar Behkalam's early works often deal with political subjects, but over time they became increasingly abstract. His early works are influenced by the New European Realism, in a symbiosis with Persian miniature painting. His later works, up to present time can be described as abstract-expressive. A focal point of his works is the depiction of the formation and choreography of mass movements.
One recurring theme in his works is the turbulent history of his home country Iran: the series "Persepolis" (1977–1979) deals with old Persian iconography, that is confronted with the depiction of the execution squads of the former regime. In the eighties he produced the series "Justice in Allah's Name", that has the religiously legitimized human rights violations of the Islamic Republic as its central theme.
From 1984 -1986 Behkalam did extensive research on the German revolution of 1848 and produced several large scale paintings on that subject that were presented in his solo exhibition at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Berlin (State Art Gallery Berlin) in 1986.
Behkalam has shown his works in many exhibitions in Europe, Asia and North and South America. In 2009 he has been the winner of the Tashkent Biennial in Uzbekistan.
Behkalam is married to German women, and together they have two children. 

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