Enhanced by the sleek lines and reflections on the surface of Metamorphosis III, there is an amorphous, liquid quality to the sculpture as it seems to melt and morph before our eyes. It appears to be the effect of invisible forces working on living cells causing them to move and change shape. There is a dynamic, fluid quality and movement to the sculpture as it seemingly changes in mid-air, but frozen in time because it is made of a solid metal. It contains both the strength and dynamism of an Italian futurist or classical evocation of Ovid’s Metamorphosis.
The sculpture seems to spin and twist away and towards itself as if in an ecstasy of movement that defies the sculpture’s essential immobility. The shape of the figure shifts and at different points the metamorphosis becomes unclear: is it morphing from a cat or dog into a bird or dolphin, or the other way around? Is the form rising upwards – like the imagination or inspiration - being pulled away from the ground in airy vapour and in the process overcoming life’s eternal struggles or is it to be rooted to the ground in a dog-like form firmly to face them? It is as if the decision has not quite been made and we are witnessing the metamorphosis at a pivotal point with all the possibilities and potential configurations of internal competition of forms and outcomes.
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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.