Nazir Tanbouli: Postcards from Paradise

20 September - 14 October 2023 Berlin
Private View: Tuesday 19th September 2023,  6:30-8:30 pm, 
Vernissage with Cello-Violin-Concert at 7:30 pm, 
The title „Postcards from Paradise“ is evocative: the paintings represent a window into a tender, radiant world of timeless tranquillity, yet as 'postcards,' they imply that you, too, might be able to visit. These writings represent a celestial paradise, but it is not a theocratic heaven of judgement and reward. It is a place of tranquilly, devoid of strife, struggle, or fear.  It is a garden where humans and animals come together to delight together. Tanbouli demonstrates the folly of human supremacy and exposes it as a fabrication, rejecting the concept of the ‘savage’ and the hierarchy of species.
Tanbouli's work has traditionally included therianthropic – human-animal hybrid – characters such as the centaur and the minotaur, as well as creatures of his own devising. These forms reject the ancient Greek concept of human superiority in favour of the Egyptian method of combining the human and the animal to create gods. The god's animal (or material) nature is regarded as equal to his human (or intellectual) nature.
The Flirting Minotaur is crucial to this story. Tanbouli presents a sensuous, flirty man-beast, welcomed into the arms of the woman as an equal, rather than the scary devouring being of myth or even the tragedy of George Frederick Watt's lonely Minotaur. This Minotaur is strong and kind, attractive, and effortlessly wears both his human and animal natures.
Warm and rich colours offer an autumnal sense to Paradise in „Golden Couple with a Dog“, „Dream Catcher“, „Black Gazal“, and „Utopia“, the warmth of summer sunsets giving way to the freshness of fall.  The images of the archetypal Couple with various animals (Cat, Dog, Ox, etc.) have a cooler palette. These are influenced by grisaille, a method in which an image is created tonally, in shades of grey, to build up layers of shadow, highlight and contrast before adding colour in transparent glazes. Tanbouli's cooler tones evoke the clear light of morning or moonrise.
Ultimately, what all of these paintings portray is love, love as a desire for unity. Plants, humans, and animals are all interconnected. At all times, and in all seasons, Paradise is a place of endless delight.