Gerhardsen Gerner

Nader Ahriman

11 Dec 2014 - 31 Jan 2015

Installation view
11 December 2014 – 31 January 2015

Gerhardsen Gerner is very pleased to announce our first solo exhibition with the Iranian-German artist Nader Ahriman.

Nader Ahriman's Hegel Machine is part of a series of works entitled Meta–Cubism, which is based on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. So far, Hegel Machine includes eleven large canvases and numerous drawings and sketches. Ahriman's painting is characterized by a complex shape and figural language, resulting from the attempt "to paint philosophy" (Douglas Fogle, 2002). He furnishes the abstract mental constructions of philosophy with figurative counterparts combined with geometric architectural elements. The artist's intention is not to illustrate. His pictorial compositions are rather metaphors for that which cannot quite be grasped.

The meticulously constructed image elements are filled with meaning within the philosophical cosmos of Ahriman's thinking. His imagery fascinates precisely because of its complex density and the notion that the scene contains more than it reveals on first viewing. "What is appearance, what is reality? [...] The figures have their own secrets, they possess hidden meanings and characteristics [...] [Nader Ahriman] gives us an insight about how we perceive and do not perceive the world, what we see and do not see, what we understand and do not understand. His painting offers an existential possibility of making an existence dominated by irrational forces bearable and presents the only knowledge of the nature of the world." (Florian Waldvogel, 2013)

The same figures or elements recur over and over again in the pictures. It is as if the painterly idea must be deepened or be imprinted on the visual memory of the beholder: the "Soul of the World" as Napoleon Bonaparte high upon his steed, and "The Young Hegel" with a transparent plastic bag over his head, a bound package under his arm and a raised, bare leg, which is propped up by a baguette. The Hegel Machine and Soul of the World do not always appear in the same form, but each also attains an object-like architectural or "machine-like" image.

"[Nader Ahriman's] images refer in a very precise way to the work of a philosopher, namely [here] to the writings of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (and in particular The Phenomenology of Spirit from 1807); but they do explain, illustrate or comment upon a single sentence. They offer something to think about, without presupposing thinking: They are conceptualizations, the results of thought in images, which also require as many additions and repetitions, new starts and changes of perspective as thinking and writing itself." (Thomas Macho, Denkbilder, 2013)

Nader Ahriman, born 1964 in Shiraz (Iran), lives and works in Berlin. Ahriman's works have been shown in solo exhibitions, including the Kunstverein Hamburg (catalog by Distanz), Kunstverein Freiburg (catalog by Hatje Cantz), MACO Sur, Mexico City, and Kunsthalle St. Gallen.

Furthermore, his work has been shown in the following group exhibitions: “Painting Forever!”, Kunst-Werke, Berlin, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, der Temporären Kunsthalle, Berlin, MANIFESTA 7, Trento, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Whitechapel Gallery, London and Rupertinum, Salzburg.

Tags: Nader Ahriman, Florian Waldvogel