Shahram Karimi

Shahram was born in 1957 Shiraz, and he is a painter and film production designer. He has extensive experience working within the film production department on a film crew for 15 years. He has worked from a very early conceptual process collaborating with Iranian artists and filmmakers; Shirin Neshat and Shoji Azari on many film projects. Their film “Women Without Men” won the 2009 Venice Film Festival, Silver Lion, for best directing. Shahram worked closely with director Richard Raymond on the movie “Desert Dancer”.


He lives and works between Germany and New York. His works have been exhibited in numerous countries, including Iran, Turkey, Germany, the US, and Switzerland. Shahram Karimi’s paintings portray the dilemma of the contemporary bicultural Iranian who seeks historical and personal identity by wedding their past with contemporary form. Each one of Karimi’s paintings relates to a fragment of his memory and national history. People, flowers, the ambiance of an Iranian village stranded on his canvas bespeak the past simplicity of Iran. Yet, in the remote corners of the same piece, we often depict an actual historical event blended into the weaves of the artist’s canvas. Thus does the painter strive to unfold the dust of oblivion from his memory and unveil the identity of the contemporary Iranian lost in a world of a much loved simple past and a fast-tracking contemporary present that bears no relationship with the world of his childhood.

This is where Karimi realizes the need for elements from his Iranian background, and this is where he turns to Iranian poetry to thread it through his works and thereby to leave its mark. The writings in his works are hard to read. They are only threads that rise out of the painting to join its various corners together and to leave the reader with the unforgettable remembrance of where it all stemmed from: the Persian poem that Iranians take such pride in and which to them is the single indivisible cultural element they all embrace. And yet the painter goes even further: the separate frames of memory he leaves in various corners of his work rise from his personal conscious and unconscious. Karimi’s misty background greys and blues force the viewer to witness how what we see as memory still lives on to control, influence and shape our present.