Reading Images

Kerstin Gürke, Berlin


If written images are not only read as text but seen and emphasised as colours and forms, then in the eye of the observer the text changes into an image. “Rational reading” shifts to “irrational seeing”. Can both forms of perception exist simultaneously? Levels of content and form interact and move closer or recede into the distance alternately. The images’ open structures that can be expanded infinitely meet a limited system of characters that in the case of a foreign language again transform into a world of images. Endless subjective associations develop between language and image.3 (3).jpg

The works of Wakilur Rahman open to the spectator the expanse, vicinity and depth of universal landscapes. Themelancholy of flat river landscapes achieves a pictorial character and invites you. Horizons flow by coloured surfaces. The mood in the pictures is usually calm, almost meditative, and invites you to linger. From time to time the curtain of the structures opens and releases small ainsights of the background. What is concealed behind the harmonious landscapes? Perhaps the tensions and abysses of nature and our human existence?

2 (3).jpgWakilur Rahman’s imagery is inspired by the shallow, wide water landscape of his homeland. The vivid, usually Bengali text signs bring a further plane into the images – readably or only visibly, banal or weighty. The use of Bengali characters shows the relationship between the artist and his language and the reference to Bengali folk art from which he can collect revenue but never uses, instead he goes on his own intellectual journey. Elements of Chinese calligraphy, graffiti art and street art flow into the work and mingles with one another.

Wakilur Rahman’s position to his home country has everything to do with culture and language, and less with religion and nationality. The way to synthesise one’s identity as an artist, Bengali and as someone who has lived 25 years in Central Europe, is followed again and again. The discussions about political and cultural events in East and West are as much a part of his artistic thinking, as the confrontation with aesthetic issues of our time and in contemporary art.

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I came to know Wakilur Rahman in 1995 while studying together in the department of “Art in context” at the Berlin Arts University. Our similarities in terms of humour was kind of surprising. Coming from very different cultures, it was easy for us to develop joint ideas and projects. I owe to my friendship with Wakilur many inspirations for artistic, political and personal issues and many stimulating and fun evenings with wine and beer in the pubs of Berlin.

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