Step into the world of Farshad Farzankia and discover his wild and colourful painted poetry.

19 June 2021 to 27 February 2022


Farshad Farzankia, Flowers, 2021. Photo: Malle Madsen

Farshad Farzankia’s large paintings radiate poetic power and vitality. ARKEN’s major solo exhibition featuring Farzankia is the Iranian born artist’s first show at a museum. For the exhibition, he has created new works that reach far back in time, incorporating centuries of traditions while also examining our own time with a critical eye.


Farshad Farzankia, Swirling or Dancing, Episodes or Chapters, 2018-2019. Photo: Malle Madsen

Setting stories free

We are all made up of fragments formed by our experience and memories, anxieties and acquisitions, dreams and desires. So are Farzankia’s paintings. When he paints, he lifts his chosen subjects out of their usual framework, injects them with new life and sets them free. Guided by intuition, Farzankia examines life’s great, existential questions. His canvases are full of images that put lots of narratives into play – narratives that can be grand or intimate, dealing with issues such as identity, freedom and movement. Each painting is like an open-ended scene or a film clip with no beginning or end, inviting us to enter new worlds and expand them in our own imagination.


Farshad Farzankia

During the reign of the images

The title of the exhibition comes from a poem by Inger Christensen, If I stand, from the collection of poems Lys (Light, 1962). For Farzankia, the poem is about how any human can stand up, cast a shadow and be present in the world. At the exhibition, visitors can enjoy twenty-three large paintings, several of them created especially for this exhibition. These paintings are poetic and powerful discharges of color, light and darkness. Farzankia has also brought together a wealth of drawings and silkscreen prints in a huge collage called During the Reign of Images (2018–21), a work which has grown out of the last three years of his production. The drawings provide insight into the intuitive process that precedes each painting in Farzankia’s practice, speaking eloquently of the power and significance that images have in today’s intensely visual culture.

From Persian poetry and cinema to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan

Farzankia constantly feeds his mind and entire sensory apparatus a wide array of impressions from film and literature, music and visual art, historical narratives and the present-day barrage of digital images. All these things find their way into his paintings as sources of inspiration, sometimes in recognisable form, but usually changed and transformed, embedded in the artist’s distinctive aesthetic. From the Persian thirteenth-century poet Rumi to Bob Dylan and Gunnar Ekelöf, from the films of directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Jean-Luc Godard and Abbas Kiarostami, and from the art of figures ranging from J.F. Willumsen to Andy Warhol. Farzankia’s paintings are created against the backdrop of a colossal, profound interest in human manifestations of life, cutting across time, continents and cultures.


Farshad Farzankia, Himmelhunden, 2020. Photo: Malle Madsen

Farshad Farzankia. Photo: Rasmus Weng Karlsen


Farshad Farzankia lives and works in Copenhagen. He was born in 1980 in Tehran, Iran. In 1989, he arrived in Denmark when his family fled their home due to the Iranian revolution. Farzankia is a trained graphic designer. In 2016, he left the industry behind to dedicate himself entirely to working as an artist. He has rapidly achieved great acclaim in Denmark and internationally, with numerous solo and group shows already behind him. His artistic practice concentrates mainly on painting as a medium, but he also works with sculpture, prints and films.

The exhibition is supported by


Overretssagfører L. Zeuthens Mindelegat