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shahram entekhabi

Born in Iran, lives and works outside his country. His works are focused - he states - on seeing and being seen.
In his videos, changing like a chameleon, he plays with the stereotype masks characteristic for representatives of different cultures, personifying, for instance, the Islamic fundamentalist, Kurdish activist, Guerilla from Latin America or criminal from the Balkans. Each time he questions the boundaries of his identity. Being himself a Stranger, he toys with the fears related to the Other. The artist freely combines motives drawn from various cultures, clashing backgrounds, contexts, figures. He refers to an ambiguous and threatening (for the Europeans) face of the Orient and the exotic of the Islamic culture approached in a stereotyped way. His works emanate with disturbing unpredictability. They frighten with their vision of the Other blowing up from the inside the established order of "predictable" European culture. Introducing into his works the Unreliable, he evokes fear. He can perform an unexpected act of self-destruction any time, blow himself up, pour petrol over his body and set fire to it.

^ Shahram Entekhabi, Longways, billboard digital print 200x 311, 2006

^ Shahram Entekhabi, me?, drawings, 2004 (detail)

^ Shahram Entekhabi, Killd, installation, 2004

^ Shahram Entekhabi, Flower, video/painting - installation, 2004

^ Shahram Entekhabi, I?, video, 2003

^ Shahram Entekhabi, Happy Meal, video, 2003

Shahram Entekhabi:

"My work is always framed within an urban setting and inspired by Charles Bauderlaire's writings on the 19th century concept of the Flaneur and diffuses the idea that the urban space is reserved for the practice and performance of the white, middle class, hetero-sexual male. I explore these idea via a variety of performative practices using digital media, architecture and drawings. In particular, I choose to highlight those individuals who would ordinarily be marginalized, made invisible or forced into self-ghettoization from the urban domain such as migrant communities and their culture, particularly the communities from the Middle East and their diaspora. The question of visibility and invisibility, therefore, has been a situation that I actively explore within my practice. With reference to my earlier video work I create different scenarios of an unknown migrant figure known as "M" who is presented in various public scenarios (i? 2004, Rockerfeller Boulevard, 2004, Alcazar, 2004). Sometimes "M" is walking, running or busy creating informal structures using caution tape to raise claim for his own territory. "M" is forever on the move, mostly with his belongings in his suitcases in tow, always already aware of the fact that as a guest he may be asked to leave at any given moment. "M" led me to explore further migrant prototypes such as: the Islamic fundamentalist (Islamic Star, 2005), Kurdish activist (Mehmet, 2005) Guerilla-guy (Miguel, 2005) and unknown criminal from the Balkans (Mladen, 2005). Some of these figures are having an enormous auto-aggression, burning themselves, firing a hand grenade etc. In many ways they defy the image of "M" as this coy, polite, guest-worker contributing to German reconstruction. Furthermore, I also transfer these ideas about confrontation within my sculptures and para-architectural installations (Caution, 2001-06). These sculptures/ informal architectures are always constructed in public-spaces and always made from caution tapes suggesting ideas about safety zones and no go areas and importantly who is permitted and not within the public space. These works deal with the dual concept of performance and public space and time".

"Through the embodiment of diverse figures in his works, Shahram Entekhabi adopts manifold attributes of an actual or presumed state of "being different", making these visible by means of role play in public space. He employs clichéd imaginary notions of migrants, which are charged with additional content through images in the media. These can be deciphered on the basis of clothing, accessories and codes of behaviour".

Doris Berger, translation by Lucinda Rennison

"In a world of mounting tensions between the Middle East and the much of the West, Iranian-born architect, and video artist Shahram Entekhabi's film Happy Meal (2004), presents a collision of cultures with a sympathetic eye. This is a collision of cultures Entekhabi knows first hand as someone who left his native country of Iran in 1978 for Italy, and never went back. With the change of regime in Iran, the ‘homeland' he once knew no longer exists. Entekhabi now lives in Germany, a country with which he does not share a cultural tradition. Political reasons prevent him from returning to Iran, he is between cultures, caught in limbo. This feeling of ambivalence and displacement informs his work as an artist, and finds visual form in his film Happy Meal.
In short, Entekhabi's film makes one question the stereotypes of East and West, and encourages instead thinking about the happy accidents, if only for a moment, of the collision of cultures, and the possibility and excitement of new cultures being created through this intersection".

Aimee Marcereau DeGalan, Happy Meal

"Using the most advanced technologies, and a modern design, the viewer (at first an Internet user) is offered a comic-book-style and deliberately humorous, learning film. In combination with the videos, Sharahm Entekhabi once again interrupts, with this "ready made," the rigid way of seeing, the so-called "western-oriented" gaze, directed Islamic culture. These works offer an unaccustomed and alternating glimpse at both the practice of daily prayers and the Muslim reality, but without falling prey to obsessive explanations. The artist playfully creates "counter images" which deliberately avoid exploring the exotic element in cultural differences; instead, these differences are questioned and presented here as unstable constructions".

Antje Weitzel, translation by Karl Edward Johnson.

Shahram Entekhabi

b. 1963, Beroujerd, Iran
1976 - 1979 studied graphic design at the University of Teheran, as well as architecture, urban planning and Italian in Peruggia and Reggio Calabria
1983 - 2000 independent architect
from 2001 active in the field of photography, painting, drawing, video art, installation and performance
2004 member of Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities at Case Western Reserve University Cleveland
2006 scholarship VASL Lahore 2006 (Pakistan)
associated with the Anita Beckers Gallery in Frankfurt
from 1983 has lived and worked in Berlin, from 2006 also in London

selected one-man shows:

M, Galeria Urs Meile, Luzern, CH
Something in Common, Galeria A
nity Beckers, Frankfurt, D

KILID, Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben e.V., Berlin, D
Glub, Hopkins Hall Gallery, OSU College of the Arts, The Ohio State University, USA
Glub Installation, Merhson Center and Art, The Ohio State University, USA
Migratory Aesthetics, University Theatre in Amsterdam, NL

Glub, Case Art Studio Gallery, Case Western University, Cleveland, USA
I?, PLAY - gallery for still and motion pictures, Berlin, D

selected group exhibitions:

Busan Biennale, Busan Yachting Center, Museum of Modern Art, Busan, ROK
Portraits - the view behind the make-up, Galeria Anity Beckers, Frankfurt, D
This Land Is My Land, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nurnberg, D
Berlintendenzen, La Capella, Barcelona, E
International Artists Residency Exhibition, VASL Art, Haveli Baroodkhana, Lahore, PAK
dLux Media Arts / The Middle Eastern Video Project, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, AUS
Almost Art, Slought Foundation, Philadelphia, USA
Urban Creatures, Pori Art Museum, Pori, FIN
Nouvelles Collections (Collection Jürg + Ruth Nyffeler), Centre Pasqu Art Kunsthaus, Biel; Centre d'art, Bienne, CH
Magmart Festival - video under volcano, Casoria. International Contemporary Art Museum, Naples, I

Real Representation / Representing the "Real", Arena / Glashaus, Berlin, D
Beograd nekad i sad, Prodajna Galerija, Belgrad, SCG
Come Fly With Me (online-video-exhibition on, London, GB
What? Me? a Racist?, Saarländisches Künstlerhaus, Saarbrücken, D
Jigsaw Feelings. Contemporary video art from Berlin, Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, MEX
e-flux video rental, Kunst-Werke. Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, D
Walled Souls, presentation in relation to Circa Berlin exhibition, Kunsthallen Nicolaj, Copenhagen, DK
Elektronenströme. Real fictions und inszenierte Realitäten im Video, Kunstmuseum Bonn, D
Iranian Artist Returns, The Iranian Cultural Association of Greater Columbus, Columbus. USA
I LOVE ART VIDEO - 6 edycja, Musée d'art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg, F

Entfernte Nähe. Neue Positionen Iranischer Kunst, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, D
Not in the Sky and not on the Earth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, MK
Schizorama, National Center for Contemporary Art, Moskwa, RU
La Sage-femme y Spiral Woman, Sala Municipal de Exposiciones del Museo de Pasió, Valadolid, E
just pLAy, Galeria Cirrus, Los Angeles, USA

2th International Video Festival, Kansk, RU
Fair Play. Video Contest, PLAY - gallery for still and motion pictures, Berlin, D
models + frames 8: Überlebensstrategien für Untrainierte - The Winners Takes It
All..., Kunst und Medienzentrum Adlershof, Berlin, D


- Entfernte Nähe. Neue Positionen Iranischer Kunst, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2004.
- This land is my land, Kunsthalle Nürnberg, Nürnberg 2006.
Berlintendenzen, La Capella, Barcelona 2006.
- Urban Creatures, Porin Taidemuseo, Pori 2006.
- Modell "Verpaßte Gelegenheit" - Symptome der Überforderung, Brandenburgischer Kunstverein Potsdam, Potsdam 2005.
- Walled Souls. Screening on the occassion of the exhibition "Circa Berlin", Kunsthallen Nikolaj, Copenhagen 2005.
- In the Shadow of "Heroes", ArtEast, Biszkek 2005.
- Beograd nekad i sad, Prodajna Galerija, Belgrad 2005.
- Bologna Flash Art Show, Sofitel hotel, Bologna 2005.
- GLUB, Case Art Studio Gallery, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland 2004.
- Entfernte Nähe. Neue Positionen Iranischer Kunst, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin 2004.
- Not in the Sky and Not on the Earth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje 2004.
- La Sage-femme y Spiral Woman, Sala Municipal de Exposiciones del Museo de Pasió, Valadolid 2004.

More Articles on Web Page:
- Doris Berger, Semiotics of a Migrant Man located in Germany
- Kathrin Becker, Worte über M.
- Mari Brellochs, Kilid
- Sara Raza, Staging a Walkout
- Sara Raza, Travelling Light
- Sabine Winkler, head in the clouds
- Anna Smolak, Magdalena Ujma, Transculture
- Aimeé Marcereau DeGalan, happy meal
- Alia Rayyan, Of keys and pigeons...
- Antje Weitzel, How to Perform Prayers

Different Articles on Web Pages:

[Translated by Ma³gorzata Sady]

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16 XI - 31 XII 2006
shahram entekhabi
It’s Been a Long Way, Baby...

23 III - 22 IV 2007
wael shawky
The Forty Days Road. Wet culture - Dry Culture

27 IV - 03 VI 2007
olaf breuning
Woman and Dead

06 VII - 02 IX 2007
jesper alvaer, isabela grosseova
Figure and Ground

07 IX - 21 X 2007
adrian paci
Spaces in-between

13 XII - 27 I 2008
loulou cherinet

The conference is a part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in Poland


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