Conversation with Peybak

Creatures fulfilling your works and the title of the show « Abrakan » instantly evoke a far country, particularely Persia…

In Iran, demons and lots of figures can’t appear in the street anymore. We don’t draw demons, not even monsters or « djinns », they are creatures, humans, angels…
Abrakan comes from our minds.
« Abrakan » is a non existing word we invented. In Persian it makes sens : it may remember you the clouds but it is not. « Abra » is « cloud » in Persian, to put a K after the word makes it « small » (like my name: Babak means small father !) « Abrak » becomes small cloud and « Kan » makes it plural. This drives to the idea of « small clouds ».
After three years of army, Peyman and I decided to work together. We found a studio in the South of Teheran in the desert. There, you can see lots of small clouds. Sky is not really blue in Teheran. As an exemple, we will never leave as finished a sharp « blue » painting, we would put an ochre filter to make it more smoky and dusty, this is where we are coming from. There is no really sharp color around us. I keep thinking that if we change our place, the paintings would be very different…

You are both artists really working together, could you say that doing works with four hands is physically and mentaly a way to create something else from your two energy?

Both have animation background and we both love paper works. Both of us are making artworks on his side and each one has really its own identity, each one wild and strange in a different way, but when we are making the works together we become « one », there is no differenciation anymore at all.
At the very first step of the work, we choose the color, and first physical thing is standing in front of the canvas. Usually we start from the center of the canvas and for the very big ones exhibited at the gallery we have started from up to down. Then we full and full each one from the concentration of the figures. « Holes » are somewhere where the creatures are coming in or out as a flow, there is no end … We grew up with miniatures and Iranian paintings. Images and figures are coming in our mind from the color, like a vision. Monochrome is always our first choice but with the exhibition we are on the way to more colors. In fact, we try to match two references at the same time : Persian miniatures colors with gothic’s. Sound is also very important and present when we do a work. Payman is Death Metal, I am more indie and experimental music !

Living in Iran, do you feel a different situation as « artists » ?

In Iran many things are underground. We grew up with this. Before we came out from Iran we didn’t realise we were coming from such a « strange » country, before I started to travel, I didn’t feel our « situation ». Coming here more often, I still believe we are all the same but, I understand now that growing up in such a country has changed everything. We are a minority, with such a big culture ! We both were born in Iran and both still want to work and live there. I think it is the only place where we can do such artworks.
Here, there are so many Art, it is a lot of pressure. Each time I pass by Notre Dame, I feel it has to do with my paintings but I didn’t grow by knowing this cathedral. I feel this is what we have in common but at the same time being Iranians makes us more different, anyway in our country we are also so different already !

Part of the title you gave to the exhibition means « birth », we are in the creation phase, have you already thought to a following ?

Abrakan and the creation phase of Abrakan don’t represent more than twenty works, and about ten were exhibited in the gallery. We wish to go further this first phase. We want to go on shapes, surfaces, occupation in the space, there are lots of aspects to explore. This story which we are part, is « us », it is certainly forever unfinished. Luckily, we could spend our lives and our carriers on it. I have to go back to Teheran to work on the Lille3000 project and understand what is happening to us. We are sure now that our work is « uncommon » and « digne d’intérêt ». Now it has started to belong to others. Untill the age of 25 we couldn’t show our work to our relatives, we were afraid to be judged. Now I feel that the people understand the work.
I feel freedom now, before I felt unconfortable to present the work to the people around me, now I can do whatever I want. Maybe the first thing that I have to say on what is this exhibition about, it is that now we are free to work.

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