b'Mehrdad RashidiA man cut off from his origins must contrive a new relationship to the world.Exiled from his Iranian homeland, Mehrdad Rashidi wound up in Germany,where he learned the nomads rule of mistrusting the impulse to becomerooted: he felt no inclination to acclimatize himself at a level deeper than ofeveryday courtesies and superficial routines. In truth, he needed something tocombat nostalgia, something to bridge the fretful hiatus between his foreignsurroundings and his intimate being. His solution to the ache of alienation was to create his own secret environment.It would take the form of a surface over which he alone could exercise control.That surface was to be manifold: a sheet of notepaper, the corner of a magazinecover, a flyer advertising a transport firm, an unused voucher for some trivialgoods, a crumpled wrapper. The proverbial back of an envelope was to be hisnew habitat, a private terrain beckoning to be explored and cultivated.Examined from close to, Rashidis doodlings reveal an agile imagination at work.We may discern the even motions of the pen as it ventures into contact with thepaper support, seeking ways to outline and orchestrate impromptu forms. Builtout of closely knit squiggles and twirls, his figures wrestle and writhe, flexingtheir immediate shapes so as to spawn fresh shapes that sprout forth, or elsecohere within more and more complex configurations. Rashidi has developed asort of stitching or calligraphic embroidery, which meshes together a texturedmass, almost always full of staring faces. But who are these people? Their con-tented faces meet in peculiar combinations, yet bed down harmoniously, likerhymes in a nursery song. 9'