Curation of international exhibitions

Seit 2011 kuratiere ich Illustrationsausstellungen im internationalem Kontext für den Hammeraue e.V. - Verein für Illustration & Zeichnung in Berlin. So unter anderen:
Since 2011 I am curating illustrations exhibitions in the international framwork for the Hammeraue e.V. - association for illustration & drawing in Berlin, Germany. Beside others those:

»Shabaviz«: 2011 Berlin + 2012 Hamburg
zeitgenössige iranische Bilderbuch-Illustrationen vom Verlag Shabaviz

»Anaarestan«: 2013 München, 2014 Kopenhagen, 2015 NewYork
Aktuelle Bilderbuch-Illustration aus dem Iran in Deutschland

»Erdbeerland«: 2014 Teheran, Isfahan, Maschhad
Aktuelle Bilderbuch-Illustration aus Deutschland im Iran

»Anaarestan & Erdbeerland«: 2016 Berlin
Aktuelle Bilderbuch-Illustration aus dem Iran & aus Deutschland

»Justitia 5.5.0«: 2018 Berlin
Justitz in Vergangenheit, Gegenwart & Zukunft in Deutschland

»Tandem 1«: 2022 Frankfurt am Main
Neue Buch-Illustration aus Spanien

Folgend ein Interview über meine Tätigkeit als Kurator des Illustrations-Austausches von iranischen Illustratoren die in Deutschland und deutschen Illustratoren die im Iran präsentiert wurden. Das Interview wurde auf Englisch geführt und erschien auf Farsi in der Kunstzeitschrift »Tandis« in Teheran.

Tandis Arts Magazine, Teheran, July 2014, page 25

Anaarestan & Erdbeerland
An cultural exchange between Iran and Germany – an interview with the curator Tom Eigenhufe

»Erdbeerland« which means Land of the Strawberries is the name of an exhibition that shows original artwork of 16 German picture book illustrators right now in Iran. The exhibition was shown in Teheran at Laleh Gallery im May this year and later in June at the Museum of contemporary arts in Isfahan. The next stop will be Artin Gallery in Mashhad, starting at the end of July in 2014. The sister exhibition of »Erdbeerland« was »Anaarestan« - which means Land of the Pomegranates. It has shown the artwork of 16 Iranian picture book illustrators at the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany and was on display for 5 month in 2013.
The curator of both exhibitions is the German illustrator Tom Eigenhufe. He was interviewed by the Iranian children's book illustrator and art-blogger Negin Ehtesabian for Tandis Arts Magazine:

Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been doing illustration as a freelancer and what is your personal goal in your art?

After finishing my studies at the Berlin-Weißensee Art school in 2001 I started my career as an Illustrator and graphic designer. I am working in editorial illustration for newspapers and magazines. Some of them are Berliner Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau and Das Magazin. I also work in the field of children's illustration. One of it is the independent and really great Gecko Children's Magazine. At the moment I have one book to come out soon and an other one which I am working at the moment.
Well, my goals are easy to explain: »Earn money and have fun doing it«. But the reality often tends to »earn some money and have to work quite hard«. Still - its most of the time fun.

Your style has a very distinctive playful and graphic quality. Was this something that was developed during your practices as a choice, or was it your natural way of drawing?

Oh thanks a lot, I like this description of my style. I think this style comes from my work with silkscreen print and linocut. But I also have an other style which I am calling ”Handycraft work style” as I combine tempera painting there with collage of fabric and other materials.

How did you became interested in Iranian illustration?

In 2010 I was invited to speak about my illustrations at the art school in the city of Offenbach next to Frankfurt am Main. After that speech I had some hours before the train went back to Berlin. So I went to the Klingspor Museum, which is well known for his typographic exhibitions. But instead of that, there was an exhibition of children book illustration. Most of it was that common nice pink bunny stuff, but in between there where some brilliant illustrations. I learned those have been from Iran.

How did you end up managing exhibitions for Iranian and German Illustrators? Was it an exceptional experience to set an exhibition for illustration or are you always doing it as a part of your carrier?

Well, one thing leads to an other. I already had good connections because of my own exhibitions and bigger group exhibitions with other artists. Then in 2011 we did an exhibition in Berlin with the illustrators of the Iranian children books publishing house Shabaviz, which had the books at the Klingspor museum. In 2012 we completed that exhibition with Iranian animated films and added some illustrations for the following exhibition in Hamburg. The next step was to show a complete picture of contemporary Iranian picture book illustration. Well and at the end I had the idea to have an exchange in both directions. So I had to organize two exhibitions at once in stead of only one. Great that we could convince both - the cultural department of the iranian embassy in Berlin as well as the German foreign ministry to support the whole project.

How did you choose the collection? Was it all your decision or did you have a jury? And how did you collaborate with Munich International youth library?

For the Iranian exhibition I knew already a lot of good illustrators because of the 2 other exhibitions with Iranian illustrators I did in Berlin and Hamburg. I also searched the internet for new illustrators, ask the illustrators I already knew, got connected to the CBC - the children's book council of Iran - and finally went to the Teheran International book fair in 2013 looking at all the new books.
Of the German illustrators and illustrations I knew already a lot, but also was searching for new and unknown Illustrations. I have been at the international book fair in Frankfurt, went to book presentations and was talking with the owners of two famous children book shops in Berlin. One of the later selected illustrator I met in Portugal, as we both where selected for the 2014 “Ilustrarte“ Illustration-Bienal in Lisbon.
So finally I had seen fare more then 100 books from each country and gave 40 preselected books/illustrations later to a jury of 4 illustrators in both countries. The idea was to let a jury from each country decide what illustrations where interesting for the audience in general and also specially for illustrators in there own country. I also had several talks with the head of the International Youth Library in Munich and we decided to show the artwork of 16 illustrators, as this is an optimal size for that kind of exhibition. That worked perfect I think.

How successful where the exhibitions? Was it a great hit and had a big audience?

Both exhibitions where received very very well. Lots of people came to the openings and the exhibitions. I am really happy to see, that the people in both countries are interested to get an own impression of the current culture of each other.

Was the German audience surprised or did they have been already expected to see good illustration from Iran?

Most of them where surprised as I was when I saw Iranian illustrations the first time. Some of the audience did know Iran already as a country of a very sophisticated culture. I think that reaches back to the times of Goethe, when he was a big fan of Hafez.

What has been the biggest achievement in this experience? Are you happy with the results?

One of the best thing was the real exchange of illustrators. We could invite illustrators from Iran to the opening in Munich where they have met colleagues and the German audience and vice versa at the opening in Teheran.

Do you have more exhibitions in other countries as well?

Well, to be honest, that is such a big effort to make exhibitions in an international context. I definitely need a rest. I also have to care a bit about my own work. But you never know … I have already 2-3 ideas for coming exhibitions.

Lastly, are you going to continue to promote Iranian illustration in Germany? Are you interested to collaborate with them?

Of course I will. We already did a project together: »Lentikularium«. 6 Iranian Illustrators and 6 German illustrators made a very high quality calendar together for the european year 2015 and the Iranian sun year 1394. This was very hard work for the participating illustrators as one part of the illustration had to be a lenticular print - illustration that moves if you pass by the calendar! I am very happy with the result. Also 2 illustrators where already hired by German magazines as they where seen in Germany in the exhibitions. I started to make an Iranian version of my coming book »Sunny greetings from Numberville« and an other illustrator from Berlin is now in contact with an Iranian publishing house. As you can see the connection will continue in both ways.

Thank you for sharing you experiences!

Rah hesch mi konam.

You can have a book of both of the exhibitions at Artists House in Teheran and in the internet.
The exhibition »Erdbeerland« with German Illustations will be shown next at Artin Gallery in Mashhad.
Opening at 16:00 h the 31th of July in 2014. The exhibition will run till the 7th of August. Address: Ahmadabad st., Ghaaem 8, N° 53/2, Mashhad

The exhibitions: www.hammeraue.de/verein
Tom Eigenhufe: www.eigenhufe.de