October 1st to November 5th, 2010
Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Road, London W14 (020 7602 3316)
Opening: Friday 1 October, 6:30 pm
Meet the artist: 2 October, 3-4 pm
This is the first solo show in the UK of the outstanding photographer, installation- and multi-media artist Parastou Forouhar. She was born in 1962 in Teheran, and since 1991 has lived in Germany. Her work is a response to the dramatic social changes that she witnessed after the 1979 Iranian Revolution and her subsequent experience of displacement on arriving in Europe. More recently, a profound and terrible influence was the murder of her parents in Teheran in 1998 by secret agents, sent to silence these critics of the non-secular regime.
imagery is surprisingly witty, occasionally dark and often humorously macabre.
For example, the installation "The Funeral" is a set of office chairs
covered in a garish, mass-produced material sold in Teheran's street markets
for Ashura, the annual Shiite ceremony that mourns the martyrdom of Imam Hossein
in 656. Originally these printed shrouds came in symbolic, plain shades, but
today they are printed in day-glo colours for an interesting blend of religion
with pop culture. Standing empty in a room, they commemorate the victims of the
officials who sat in them. "Eslimi" ("Ornaments") is a fabric
pattern-book of deceptive charm. Look closer and we see the patterns are
composed of instruments of torture such as whips, knives, needles,
knuckledusters and pistols - elements that reappear in the mesmerising
Digital Drawings, which seem decorative from afar, but are actually
kaleidoscopic patterns of gruesome objects and events. The series, "Signs"
plays on the imagery of road and traffic signs to express the battle of the
sexes in Iran: for women, there is "no entry" and "access denied", while men
enjoy "right of way". Individually and together, the works are startling,
thought-provoking, and disturbingly attractive.
The exhibition is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea's "Nour Festival of Arts" at Leighton House, which runs from October to December 2010. In Arabic "Nour" means "light'"or "illumination", which this festival of contemporary arts and culture from the Middle East and North Africa celebrates with exhibitions, film screenings, book and poetry readings, talks, concerts and workshops.
Rose Issa Projects
269 Kensington High Street
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