press release

Opening Saturday 14th March 2009, 07:00 Pm.

Shahre Farang (Farsi for "chequered-world") is the name for a particular kind of peep-boxes used for long centuries in the Middle East and even up to the 1960´s. The boxes offered the possibility to view an exhibition of pictures inside through a small hole and were usually travelled from villiage to village by the show-man. The box could be made out of metal in the shape of an oriental castle with several holes. It contained a set of pictures which the show-man could move inside the box by pulling the string. Commoon subjects included tales from "A Thousand and One Nights". The presentation was usually accompanied by a "talk show" that explained what was happening.

In his installation "Shahr Farang", Shahram Entekhabi rbuilt the traditional peep-box in a contemporary version. The object is made out of metal and recalls the building of the former British military base in Lahore, Pakistan. Inside is an installation of objects evoking a children´s world. The additional soundtrack consists of the artists´s personal diary, containing memories of his owb childhood and fictional elements.

"Shahre Farang" narrates the story of Shahram Entekhabi´s Iranian past. It begins with his early school years which prompted the artist to embark on his quest for the sourcesof his identity. The installation describes the characteristics of the artist´s native city of Teheran: it evokes smells of roasted bulbs and washingwater running down the streets, the noises and pictures of everyday experience. All these fragments are drawninto the artist´s work. He presents some of the curiosities of his childhood to us, such as the Chemistry teacher, Mr. Azadi, with his endless formulas, the doll´s tea-parties of the artist´s two sisters and his daily small romances with the girls in the neighbourhood and the romances of mothers whose lives seem to take place in a daily routine. The Shahre Farang man plays the central role in this history, showing a small palace fairy. tale of queens and kings. Many children stand around this tiny palace and press their noses and eyes aghainst the peep-holes. Speaking in the voice of the Shahre Farangman from within the multicoloured palace, Entekhabi conveys his impressions of the fantasy world. Upon the death of the artist´s father, his carefree childhood ends.

Another object is the light box "HOME" that is a quotation from the film set of Stanley Kubrick´s master piece " A Clockwork Orange" 1971 In the movie, the sign standing in front of the house of a writer appears twice. Once, before the protagonist Alex, a violent juvenile and his gang enter thew writer's house to rape and murder his wife. A second time, after Alex submitted to a controversial experiment in prison to make criminals sick at the mildest suggestion of violence or conflict, Alex was attackedby the members of his former gang and, as a result of the experiment, he was not able to defend himself. Heavily injured and desperate, he re-enters the writer´s house to ask for help without even recognizingit. Shahram Entekhabi transferred this sign into the context of migration, seeing "home" as a hostile or a friendly place.

only in german

Shahram Entekhabi
Shahre Farang (Farsi for "chequeredworld")