From Greek Antiquity to Glossy

Manzur Kargar was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. At the age of 5 his family moved to Germany . He studied painting at the University of Fine Arts (HBK) Braunschweig and at the University of Fine Arts (udk) Berlin. He has lived and worked in Berlin since 1992, with periodical stays in Los Angeles and New York. In addition to being a painter, he is also a musician and composer, currently playing in the band ARTISTS ON HORSES.



In his early works, Kargar focused primarily on early classical art, looking all the way back Hellenistic Greece. But in the last decade, he has focused on reproducing mass media images of contemporary advertising through painting. His inspiration comes from glossy magazines, television and the Internet. The artistic exploration of “advanced” civilizations is central to his work. No matter which era inspires Kargar, he depicts the human figure as shaped by its time.

Kargar now interprets the world as it is currently presented in the media: sugarcoated, unreal, dramatic, seductive, frightening, bizarre and glamorous. He uses motifs with which we are all familiar, pulls them out of their contexts and puts them into new ones. This creates a sensation of irritation. The viewer cannot resist the attraction of his hyper-realistic work, painted with elaborate traditional techniques in numerous layers.

Foto by Kai Heimberg Foto: Kai Heimberg

In his latest work Kargar goes back to the origins of painting, the oldest surviving cultural achievement of humankind. Painting has always played a role in the spatial context of existence. From early cave paintings, to the "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci or the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo, pictures were created in relation to space. Kargar does not reject the Romantic idea that a painting can stand alone, nor the modern White Cube concept of presenting works detached from realistic surroundings. But he wants to bring painting back in touch with the room.

His most recent paintings are not randomly placed screens, but part of an overall spatial staging. Both levels are treated equally and work in relation to each other. He moves beyond the canvas and incorporates the walls and floor into the artwork. Shapes, colors and elements from the paintings continue onto the wall design, which is created according to the dimensions of the exhibition space. The wall is no longer a neutral background for the painting; it is an extension of the artwork and transfers the oil paintings into a third dimension.

With the combination of digital and classic art, Kargar’s paintings mark the span of painting from the originated emotional base into the inevitable digital age.

Manzur Kargar’s works are featured in numerous private and public collections in Europe and in the USA.


  • born in Kabul/Afghanistan
  • studied painting at the "HBK Braunschweig" (University of Fine Arts) and at the "UdK Berlin" (University of Fine Arts)
  • musician and composer in various bands recent project ARTISTS ON HORSES
  • since 1996 lives and works frequently in Los Angeles and New York
  • lives and works in Berlin


  • 2013 Manzur Kargar, individual catalogue
  • SIMON BART GALLERY, group exhibition catalogue
  • 2011 CHRISTIAN HOHMANN FINE ART, group exhibition catalogue
  • 2010 Manzur Kargar, individual catalogue
  • 2007 Manzur Kargar, large size calender
  • 2005 Manzur Kargar, individual catalogue
  • 2000 Manzur Kargar, individual catalogue
  • 1999 Paravant project, group exhibition catalogue
  • 1998 Manzur Kargar, individual catalogue
  • 1996 "Casus Belli", group exhibition catalogue
  • 1996 "Herrschaft des Schönen II" (The Power of Beauty ll), group exhibition catalogue
  • 1995 "Herrschaft des Schönen I" (The Power of Beauty l), group exhibition catalogue