My travels and work stays have taken me almost everywhere in the world. However, the Middle East has remained largely undeveloped to me so far. So now the invitation arose to travel to Isfahan in Iran to do the photography for a book about this pearl of Persian culture.
My ideas about Iran were very vague and shadowy.
I also felt insecure because of the usually very template-like and
negatively simplified representations of the country in the media.
Of course, it was clear to me that this was not a reflection of a real life reality
I was increasingly filled with curiosity and joy in view of a stay that was mine
the encounter with a great culture and spiritual world that was previously foreign to me, and in
promised a wonderland of “a thousand and one nights” that was dreamed of as a child.
The reality of the experience was so extremely surprising, positive as it was enriching.
I met open, interested in others and very hospitable
People and an incredibly complex art and culture with a deep one
Anchored in religious and historical traditions.
How can the appearances of such a city, with its modern life,
with your traditions, culture turned stone and their presumed backgrounds
to represent pictorially?
My photographs of Isfahan are largely self-explanatory.
My painted pictures, on the other hand, the mixed media, are much more complex and
Only aspects of a whole can be represented.
It is like a nocturnal hiker on a busy street.
The headlights of the cars, emerging from the darkness, shine like streaks of light
Details of the area.
The passing phenomena remain fragmentary and clogged
a kaleidoscope of impressions.
The imagination builds its own premonitions and ideas of backgrounds and
Coherence, of a mysterious whole, which is unproven and
ultimately remains hidden.
This is how I understand my pictures about Isfahan.
It’s a game with set pieces and fragments.
Calligraphic details, the spiritual and religious backgrounds of which are only known to me
foreshadowing, against pictorial architecture of subtle colors.
Abstraction versus objectivity
Painterly gesture against graphic precision and printed motifs.
A wide variety of materials are used here:
Japanese paper, acrylic paint, oil paints, printing inks, Japanese ink or sand,
Iron oxide and copper emulsions oxidized to verdigris.
As a painter and photographer, I can only work with appearances
try playfully to fathom their meaning and my own, very individual
To shape perceptions and interpretations in pictures.
The very intensive visual examination of the subject has a very positive effect on me
enables a much deeper understanding of the country, its people and their culture.
Behind everything, however, there remains a great deal of mystery about the essence of things.
In painting, which is a language of its own, the viewer opens up the space for
Associations, not explanations.
Frank Rödel 2014