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Wahed Khakdan

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Visual Artist - 1950

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, he was mesmerized by accessories, furniture, trees, etc. An attic room in the house, always full of old objects, like statues, toys, suitcases became his secret source of inspiration which still haunts him and constitutes his major subject matter. He later studied art at Art School and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tehran. 

In 1984, he immigrated 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 the 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 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.


1970 | School of Fine Arts Tehran
1976 | Faculty of Decorative Arts Tehran – BA in Interior Architecture.

Solo Exhibitions:

2018 Mah Art Gallery - Tehran
2016 Iranshahr Art Gallery - Book Launch: " A Day in Heaven"
& a Retrospective of artist's artworks - Tehran
2012 Mah art Gallery - Tehran
2010 Naar Gallery - Tehran
2009 Seyhoun Gallery - Tehran
2008 Homa Gallery - Tehran
2008 Special Pavilion of artists from "Rhine - Rhuhr" area, Ludwig Gallery -schloss
Oberhausen - Germany
2007 Gallery Kunstinitiative Ruhr - Oberhausen - Germany
2005 Gallery Sindelgrube of Munchen - Art Prints - Vienna - Austria
2004 Gallery E.P. Dusseldorf - Germany
2002 Gallery Sindelgrube - Munchen - Germany
2001 Gallery E.P. Dusseldorf - Germany
1999 Gallery TZU ( Environmental Research Center) - Oberhausen - Germany
1998 Gallery in VHS Centre - Essen - Germany
1996 Tifra Art Gallery - Maastricht - Holland
1995 Gallery Poly Print - Wuppertal - Germany
1995 Gallery of Stadtsparkasse Bank- Oberhausen - Germany
1992 Gallery Kunsform - Koln - Weiden - Germany
1991 Gallery E.P. - Dusseldorf - Germany
1990 Gallery Ardrea Krieger - Dortmund - Germany
1989 Ludwig Gallery - schloss Oberhausen - Germany
1988 Gallery of Burgermeisterhaus Werden - Essen - Germany
1988 Gallery in Kulturwerkstatt ARKA (Cultural Center) - Essen - Germany
1987 Kulturzentrum K14 - Oberhausen - Germany
1986 Gallery Conen - Oberhausen - Germany
1985 Burg Vondern - Oberhausen Kulturzentrum (Cultural Center)- Germany
1981 Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
1979 Seyhoun Gallery - Tehran
1976 Talar - e - Iran Gallery -Tehran
1975 Ghandriz Gallery - Tehran
1974 Seyhoun Gallery - Tehran

Group Exhibitions:

Since 1974 | More Than 50 Exhibitions in England, Germany, Italy, The USA, Switzerland, Dubai, and Iran

Achievements and other experiences:

1983-2010 | Illustrating more than 40 books for children & teenagers. Cooperating with more than 10 publishing companies in Iran, Germany, Switzerland, & Austria.
1988 | Stage and Puppet design for the Tele-Theater: the "Caterpillar Story", Directed by Ardeshir Keshavarzi 
1982 | Stage, Costume & Mask design for “Sabzech” children’s friend, Directed by Reza Zhiyan - City Theater of Tehran
1981 | Puppet design for the "Magic Bean", Puppet Theatre, directed by Ardeshir Keshavarzi - City Theater of Tehran

2016 | Limited Edition Book “Heirs of Time” – M.Bookly
2016|  Collection of Works 1980-2016 “Silence of Shadows”- M.Bookly
2015 | Limited Edition Book” A Day in Heaven” – M.Bookly
2012 | Iranian Artists “Wahed Khakdan” - Peikareh Film

2016 | The Silent Horse “Portrait of Wahed Khakdan”, Directed by Mohammad Reza Eyni, Winner of the 8th Fadjr International Festival of Arts- Tehran

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