Davood Koochaki was born in 1939 in a rice-growing region in northern Iran. His family was very poor and they had to work their landowner’s fields. Koochaki too had to begin to work when he was just seven. He only taught himself to read and write later on. At the age of thirteen, he decided to leave his family for Teheran, where he hoped to make a better life. He was hired to help in a car repair workshop and was trained to work as a mechanic. At the age of 24 he opened his own business. He married the same year and subsequently had four children.
He began to draw a little as a hobby at the age of 40, but it was only after he retired at 60 that he pursued drawing more seriously, producing larger size drawings and using better materials. In this, he was encouraged by his son-in-law, a professional artist. This led to his drawing bolder figures and more striking forms, using a crosshatching-like technique.
Koochaki’s early drawings show his fascination for primitive figures and mysterious creatures. There are prehistoric cave dwellers with often-explicit sexuality. He draws fantastical animals, sometimes mythological, sometimes half-human. Jokingly, he says, “I try to draw beautifully, but this is the way it comes out. Maybe it has to do with my difficult past. I begin to draw a few lines, look at them, and then I see a figure coming that I can draw.”
Thanks to his son-in-law’s connections, he exhibited his works for the first time in Teheran in 2008. Because Koochaki only uses graphite and colour pencils, he is nicknamed “the Pencil Man”.
extravaganza, works of the treger saint silvestre collection, oliva creative factory, são joão da madeira, portugal, from april 13th to september 15th, 2019.
leben in art brut, bildraum bodensee, seestraße, hannah rieger's collection, from july 14th to august 16th, 2018.
outsider art museum, collaboration between dolhuys, cordaan and the hermitage amsterdam, netherlands, 2016.
art brut live, DOX center for contemporary art, prague, march 27th - august 17th, 2015.
art brut : breaking the boundaries, treger-saint silvestre collection, from june 1st to september 11th, 2014 curator : christian berst, oliva creative factory, são joão da madeira, portugal.
drawing now 2013, carrousel du louvre, april 11th - 14th, 2013.
davood koochaki : a persian tale, christian berst gallery, march 16th - april 20th, 2013.
rentrée hors-les-normes 2012, discoveries & new acquisitions, christian berst gallery, from september 8th to october 13th, 2012.
exhibition catalogue, leben in art brut, hannah rieger collection, bildraum bodensee, seestraße, 2018.
exhibition catalogue treger-saint silvestre collection (from june 1st to september 11th, 2014, oliva creative factory, sao joao da madeira, portugal), paris, christian berst art brut ed., 2014.
exhibition catalogue, davood koochaki : a persian tale, paris, christian berst ed., 2013.
selective press review
- Allumez le feu ! authors philippe godin in la diagonale de l'art, september 11, 2017.
- Résurrection authors Stéphanie Estournet in Libération, August 21 2014.
- Davood Koochaki, un conte persan authors Philippe Godin in parisART, April 10 2013.
- Davood Koochaki authors Philippe Dagen in Le Monde, April 7 2013.
- Devine qui vient exposer ce soir authors Philippe Ducat in Oh cet echo, September 2012.