Axel Pahlavi has been living and working in Berlin since 2009; this is his first solo exhibition in his adopted hometown. The series created specifically for this occasion has been hung throughout the gallery so as to form a sequence leading from the small panel titled Embryonto the large group composition Metanoia (Die Verwandlung der Nacht) (The Transformation of Night) and to L’Asile de la Grâce, the painting that lends its name to the exhibition. At the end, visitors come face to face with Kénose.
In these paintings, Pahlavi – both as an artist and as a deeply religious person – addresses big, existential questions revolving around the Christian miracle of resurrection. As in previous works, he uses portrait-like representations of close friends and family members. In Metanoia (Die Verwandlung der Nacht), for instance, he portrays his wife Florence Obrecht as the main protagonist, and himself as a devout worshipper holding an illustrated book above his head. The same picture also features the nanny from his childhood days and his son, who can also be seen inKénose. Pahlavientertains a strong emotional connection to the portrayed persons, who in his paintings become the protagonists of a strange role play. They oscillate between their presence as individuals and their function as actors in the composition, in which different narratives compete with each other.