Heart and Mind II

Heart and Mind II may be seen as an exploration of the quest for power over and synthesis of human emotions, both rational (the mind) and irrational (the heart). Politically the idea of gaining the hearts and minds of a people as a means of persuasion has an underlying sense of expedient manipulation and perhaps this may be seen in the skeletal, bird-like aspect of the sculpture – parts are pointed as if ready to peck – to attack or defend. Similarly, the raised ‘plume’ of the bird and the ‘heart’ are made up of firm and neat bands of steel, almost like a carapace or shield. The sharper and denser parts of the sculpture blend with the sinuous curvature of the structure, linked by the gentle, elegant contours of the surface areas and the two aspects connect in an on-going and inextricable pattern of shapes. The sculpture denotes the strength required for an incorruptible heart and mind to hold together. It appears fragile and delicate and could seemingly be easily pulled out of shape (belying the strength of the metal from which it is made), but is held together and inextricably intertwined by a complex energy and movement.

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About the Artist

Akhavanjam was born in Tehran, Iran and was sent to boarding school in Marburg, Germany when he was fourteen. Alongside his studies at high school, he attended a sculpture class which ignited his loved of sculpture. In 1989, Akhavanjam moved to the United States to attend the George Washington University where he gained a degree in Biology in 1995 and subsequently in 2005 he received an Executive MBA degree from Kempten University of Applied Science in Germany. From 1997 to 2011 Akhavanjam managed the Design Department of his family’s Iranian manufacturing company for household appliances. This gave him an in-depth understanding of the manufacturing process and a passion for the structure and materiality of objects, and in particular a rapport with stainless steel. This knowledge of the scientific properties of metal combined with his love of sculpture led him to establish his own sculpture workshop. In his work he balances the inherent strength of the material with the delicacy of the cast form, realising a creative alchemy between the two. He created his first bronze sculpture in 2011.

Akhavanjam uses the unforgiving and technically challenging medium of stainless steel and bronze which under his hand seems to melt or morph into shape. His works are both figurative and abstract and sometimes combine both in their composition. He is inspired by contrasting life forces and energies which seem to grapple with each other, held within the calm beauty, elegance and sleek finish of the polished surface. His sculptures are a commentary on society and deal with paradoxical and complex themes such as the duality of good and evil, the power of the mind over brute force and the constant struggle to create a balanced and harmonious existence.

Akhavanjam has exhibited his work widely in Iran and the UAE and has participated in exhibitions at Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Mora and the Giardini della Marinaressa in the context of the Venice Biennale in 2017, 2019, and 2022 (where his works remain on display until November 2022). Recent exhibitions in the UK include 2021 ANTHEM, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens, Cornwall; Cotswold Sculpture Park, Cirencester; 2022 Dodington Hall, Lincolnshire and Cromwell Place, London.

Akhavanjam is now a Greek resident and divides his time between Greece and the United Kingdom.

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