November 2, 2017 Artissima 2017
Booth Orange #14
3 – 5 November, 2017
A presentation of works by French/Iranian artist, Ghazel, and American/Iranian artist Sara Rahbar marking their first duo presentation together. Through a series of drawings on printed maps and bronze sculptures, their work is an answer to muted questions of alienation in the globalized world – while Rahbar’s approach is through digging into the viewers vulnerability, Ghazel takes a more literal stance by not-so-plainly obliterating political boundaries.
Ghazel’s presentation include recent Marée Noire and Dyslexia drawings, from her ongoing drawings on Iranian printed world maps. The work focuses on issues of migration, exile, transnational identities, expulsion, discrimination, and displacement. Ghazel’s work addresses the political aspects of representation, which relate closely to her personal history. Since leaving Iran during the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, she has navigated between Tehran and Paris for over thirty years. Interested in radical cartography—an activist approach to mapping—Ghazel’s Marée Noire and Dyslexia works use ink and pen to erase the national borders indicated on Iranian-produced world maps. Clear and direct, with 7 of these works on paper shown in the booth. In gestural marks, the artist covers the national flags on the maps with black ink and incorporates a series of recurrent symbols/representaion of drawings of tree roots, suitcases and houses, illustrating the uprootedness of many people caused by political and social forces.
Sara Rahbar’s bronze sculptures stems from her personal experiences. While her initial practice explored more autobiographical ideas of national belonging originating from her Iranian/American history, her current practice has evolved to address issues of the human condition on a broader and more universal scale. Rahbar’s activism is working to expand the individual acts of violence she has experienced into universal ones, to amplify the sufferings of humanity through her chosen materials. The weight of these bronzes is the weight of the world; the marred skin of these bodies is the skin that connects all of us – a skin that can be cut and must bleed even as it can regenerate. These sculptures combine heavy materials – the heft of the soul, perhaps – with intensely precarious arrangements that cause us to feel not optimism, but rather pressure, discomfort and vulnerability.