b. 1977, Tehran, Iran; lives in Montreal, Canada The work of Abbas Akhavan ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. His research has been deeply influenced...
The work of Abbas Akhavan ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. His research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works, which he explores through the frames of the architectural, economic, natural and social forms that shape the experience of art within a given space.
Study for a Monument features bronze cast reproductions of flora native to the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This area, modern-day Iraq, has suffered immensely due to social, political and ecological turmoil over the decades. By archiving the local-specific plants and flowers, the artist follows the traditional 19th century colonial practice of taxonomic record-keeping. However, Abbas presents a delicate juxtaposition in the work’s production and presentation. While the material captures the carefully researched botanical species in bronze - traditionally used for weaponry and later for monuments - the presentation takes them apart in pieces, as if on a dissection tray or confiscated goods. They are presented on the floor as fragmented flora laid out horizontally on white cotton sheets, remodeling formal structures of authority and knowledge.
Akhavan’s works can be found in private and public collections around the world, including The Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, NewYork; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada among others. His work has been featured in selected group exhibitions including: Where We Go It Shall Be, Walk & Talk, Sao Miguel, Portugal (2021); Inventing Nature: Pflanzen in der Kunst, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany (2021); Once Upon a Time Inconceivable, Protocinema, Istanbul, Turkey (2021); Sensing Nature, Momenta Biennale at Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2021); A Few in Many Places, Protocinema, Montreal, Canada (2020).