Abbas Akhavan, Sheep, 2010, 22 Carat gold on Xerox copy, 29.7 x 21cm.
Abbas Akhavan, Fishers, 2010, 22 Carat gold on Xerox copy, 29.7 x 21cm.
Abbas Akhavan, Fisher, 2010, 22 Carat gold on Xerox copy, 29.7 x 21cm.
The Third Line
Al Quoz 3
+9714 341 1367
May 6-June 10, 2010
For his first solo exhibition in the region, Akhavan creates a site-specific map of Dubai highlighting monumentous features and recognizable imagery associated with the city. This installation stems from his artistic representation of Dubai which parallels the city’s accessibility and fragmentation.
The majority of Akhavan’s work is site-specific, induced and influenced by the politics, geographies, artists and architectures within proximity to the particular work. For his debut solo exhibition at the The Third Line, Akhavan will create an installation including a series of maps painted directly on a wall within the gallery space. These geographical renditions converge along the lines of mapping and remapping the space, the geography and architecture of Dubai as well as its growing art market.
As the world’s economies cautiously regain composure, Islands is Akhavan’s account of what has and still is taking place artistically, economically and on record-breaking grounds. He has strategically selected imagery readily identified with Dubai, visualizing connections between the art world and the current economy; a reflection towards this relationship to goods and resources (as gold, land and art).
Maps of Dubai and neighboring regions form an aerial view highlighting prominent areas of the human-made islands, architectural feats and popular vicinities. The map is put together through specifically selected imagery outlined in faux-gold leaf, implementing subtle humor and the fantasy associated with the city, taking the viewer beyond the simple and / or literal map.
The embellished gold wall is then divided much like sectioning a city into parts where collectors are transformed to landowners on purchase of section(s) of the map. Akhavan’s added value on the segments of his map is constantly altered as more parts are acquired. Mirroring a mock landowner transaction, this buyer/audience participation lends itself to the constantly changing landscape of Dubai. And as the show progresses, the progressive transformation of the topography in turn creates a new and different occurrence in the space.
Using Dubai’s landscape as its foundation, Akhavan seeks to define how individual appreciation can be measured, whether based on real estate, luxury items, gold or art. The exhibition renders the systems of purchase transparent, as the (selected section of the) work will be removed upon purchase — giving a measure of success or failure of art and its market, but also progressively turning the white space into ruin.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Abbas Akhavan has been living in Canada since 1992 receiving a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. His background in Art History and Visual Arts has taken his artistic practice through a variety of mediums including painting, installation, video / performance and site-specific ephemeral work.
Akhavan’s recent works focus on domestic spaces and those just outside the home — the garden, the backyard, and other landscapes. He explores the powerful relationships rooted in the domestication of nature and the territorial use of space to emphasize the ritualistic nature of (art) spaces and art viewing but, more importantly, to render the audience as active viewers and impending voyeuristic trespassers.
For the past three years, Akhavan has been teaching at the Emily Carr University of Fine Art & Design in Vancouver. His work has been exhibited extensively across Canada and internationally at Vancouver Art Gallery and Artspeak, Canada; Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Uplands Gallery, Australia; Le Printemps de septembre, France; and The Third Line, Qatar and Dubai. Akhavan currently lives in Toronto.
Abbas Akhavan, Palm, 2010, 22 Carat gold on Xerox copy, 29.7 x 21cm.