Mehrdad Rashidi

*1963, Iran/Germany

Mehrdad Rashidi was born in Sari, in northern Iran, and has lived in Germany for many years now. Although western modern art was very influential at the time of his childhood, in fact he was unaware of contemporary artistic and intellectual trends, as he grew up in a rural province.

In 1983 he and his brother fled Iran on foot, without documentation, travelling via Pakistan, Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union. They were, of course, politically opposed to the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Mehrdad Rashidi stayed in Moscow for five years, and studied journalism at university during that time. The two brothers then emigrated to Düsseldorf, where he has lived ever since. His first job there was as a hotel receptionist, and later he worked in the packing department of a factory. Mehrdad Rashidi lives a simple and quiet life, devoted largely to his art. It was a local art initiative that gave Mehrdad Rashidi the idea of trying his hand at art. In 2006 he began to draw using a ballpoint pen and ink, on pieces of paper and other materials that he found around him, such as cardboard, pages of old books, used envelopes or wood. Since then, his drawings have become an obsession. He draws constantly. His compositions are characterised by wave-like forms, and often feature overlapping human heads or faces, or sometimes animals. Their style reflects elements of the traditional and ornamental art of his homeland. Mehrdad Rashidi regards himself as working in the calligraphic tradition. He has also written poems in Farsi which he integrates into his drawings. He is influenced by his childhood, his poems and imaginative responses to his perceptions of nature, such as cloud formations, trees and rhythms. His drawings also seem to grow organically. He gives little explanation of his artworks, as he insists that everything comes from within his soul.

His work can also be seen in the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne. In 2018 Edward M. Gómez published an article in Fascicule 26 about Mehrdad Rashidi.

 

Selected works