Rotpeter: ‘Bild eines zur Dressur gezwungenen’
Fridays & Saturdays, 12-6pm, or by appointment
7 Moon Grove, Rusholme, Manchester M14 5HR
For Moon Grove’s inaugural exhibition, Behrang Karimi has been invited to produce a series of work for the gallery’s intimate domestic location.
A central theme to this project is Karimi's identification with Rotpeter, the ape in Franz Kafka’s ‘A Report to an Academy’, who learns to behave like a human, and presents to a scientific conference the story of how he affected his transformation.
In ‘Rotpeter: Bild eines zur Dressur gezwungenen’ (‘Red Peter: ‘Picture of one forced to dress’) Karimi employs a similar Kafkaesque narrative to dwell on his own history and sense of adaptation and conversion. Karimi hints at his passage from a child in Iran to an adult painter in Germany, to being asked to make an exhibition in a private house in Manchester.
Other literary references in Karimi’s drawings and paintings come closer to Manchester via a homage to Anthony Burgess. Burgess’ identity as a British outsider with a semi-tragic life chimes with Karimi’s own position as a late-bloomer.
Karimi has said:
‘It is important to create a counterpoint to the standard moral cages that we create for ourselves, similar to those represented by Rotpeter’s captors and the ape’s obedient and compliant psyche. Does progressive criticism exist anymore? Who is in the cage, and who is on the outside?’
In terms of ideas around nationalism, Burgess, whose experience in Malaysia formed an anti-national trait in the writer, Karimi has firmly asserted his position alongside Burgess and Kafka. He has said that he doesn’t feel like he belongs to any country: neither Iran, where he was born, nor Germany where he currently resides, nor the UK and Manchester, where his work is currently being shown. Instead, like the two writers he loves, Karimi belongs to, or is a citizen of music, literature and art, with no affiliation to any specific place or political regime.
Behrang Karimi was born in 1980 in Schiraz, Iran and lives and works in Cologne, Germany.
(A private view will be held on the 19th of May 7-10pm)