Once agreed upon, the trip can begin. Guaranteed, gyratory, and colourful.
It started when Peyman Barabadi and Babak Alebrahim Dehkordi, two thirty something who met at the Tehran art school in 2000, decided to transform their friendship into an aesthetic and artistic adventure. Then came a desire to create their own world, a melting pot of cultures, identities, and plural histories. This became “ Abrakan “, the fruit of long four-handed painting sessions, with loud (rock) music, in a remote studio in the mountains, an hour drive from the capital.
Always in large formats, the result is a series of atemporal works, where the gesture’s energy competes with the stroke’s precision, where the same gets confused with the unique, chaos with order. With Peybak, contraries attract so much each other, so much that you’d think that their paintings are magnets. What are they really showing us? What can we see in this new series of quasi mescalinian drawings, that once again combine vortex and sex, organic and cosmic, eastern and western? Is it the beginning or the end of a trashing world on the canvas and paper? Is it heaven or hell? Centre or periphery? Both, they say, or rather an in-between, in short“ the flare of the chaos in Abrakan ”.
“ Flare “ (éclat), spread the word. This is the subtitle they’ve chosen for their second exhibition at Galerie Vallois, after “ Birth “ in 2015, and their participation in the group show entitled “ You must change your life! ” for Lille3000. Logical and verified; in a year and a half, the strange and swarming world of Peybak gained in power and clarity. Their creatures, obsessively replicated, have evolved, leaving their embryo shape for a more developed satyric stage. Details are more clearly outlined, colours have expanded, mixing and intertwining on the canvas, awaiting an event, in a state of suspension.
Their painting has been refined and intensified with luminous colours and shiny eyes. “ Abrakan’s “ creatures watch us watching them, from their piercing (Persian) white pupils. This is not the only new thing; for the first time, the Peybak duet has created a series of sculptures made of wood and clay, giving shape and contours to the mass represented on the canvas. A series, or maybe rather an army. No less than five hundred figurines, roughly modelled, half human half animal, are piled up on a platform hung half way to the ceiling. Protruding teeth made of shells and eyes half closed, harmless and yet menacing. The vertigo of the high number is again guaranteed. Formally, one cannot help but think of the series of sculptures entitled “ Suddenly this overview “ by Peter Fischli and David Weiss; same material, same goofy aspect, same infantile touch, even elementary. And perhaps in the same manner as the Swiss duet in 1981, Peybak are revealing the sculptural part of their world, their first overview.
In 2017, “ Abrakan “ are expanding and they are making us travel further. With “ Flare “, the Iranian artists and friends, born in 1984, continue their journey towards unknowns and far territories of art and creation. They enjoy deploying their universe and giving life to it. A very good trip.