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Exhibition in London: Abbas Akhavan's "Study for a Garden"

Press Release by Delfina Foundation

Exhibition dates: 9/10-20/11/12, Mon-Sat 12:00-18:00
Private View: Mon 8/10 15:00-19:00
Opening days/times: 9 October - 20 November 2012 (Mon-Sat, 12:00-18:00) Address: Delfina Foundation, 31 Catherine Place, London SW1E 6DY

Delfina Foundation is delighted to present Study for a Garden, the first UK solo exhibition by Toronto-based Iranian artist Abbas Akhavan. During a 10-week residency at Delfina Foundation, Akhavan has produced a series of installations in response to the Foundation's adjacent property at 31 Catherine Place. The exhibition will offer visitors a unique opportunity to preview the un-renovated period building which the Foundation will expand into in Autumn 2013. Study for a Garden also marks the last exhibition at the Foundation before it closes for renovation in January 2013.

Abbas Akhavan, Study for a Garden (2012) courtesy of the artist.

Folding the border between the garden anddomestic space, Study for a Garden explores theintrusion of nature into a house where familiar spaces have gradually been taken over by foreign elements. The invasion of water and vegetation into various rooms of the house is acontinuation of Akhavan's research into the relationship between foreign and familiar,hospitable and hostile, domestic and wild. From the front door to the upstairs bedroom and backto the basement, the installations comprisinginvasive plants species and hedges govern the audience's movements, rendering them at times

as guests and at times trespassers. In one instance, visitors encounter an oscillating water sprinkler, keeping them at bay with its sprays of water; in another, the originalfloral carpet from the house creates the illusion of sprouting with natural ivy. These territorial gardens address thenaturalisation of barriers, where every garden is a guarded space, an enclosure, a compound. Water, vegetation andgardening tools create discriminatory spaces, keeping somespecies alive and others dead.

Akhavan's practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video and performance. For the pastfive years, the domestic sphere has been an on-going research in his work. Much of the early works explore the relationship between the house and nation state and how the trauma and systemic violence enacted upon civilians can be inherited andre-enacted within the family lineage - the home becoming a forked space between hospitality and hostility. More recent works have shifted focus onto spaces just outside the home -the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.

The residency and exhibition are in partnership withCanada House Arts Trust and Iran Heritage Foundation. The Private View is hosted in association with The Third Line Dubai, UAE.

Artist talk:

Thurs 25/10 19:00 - 20:30 Abbas Akhavan in conversation with Mark Rappolt (Art Review) at Delfina Foundation

Abbas Akhavan's work has been exhibited in spaces includingVancouver Art Gallery, the Power Plant, Darling Foundry (Canada), ABC Art Berlin Contemporary, KW Institute forContemporary Art (Germany), Kunsten Museum of Modern Art(Denmark), Le Printemps de septembre a Toulouse (France),Bucharest Biennale (Romania) and Performa 11 (USA). Recent and upcoming residencies include Fundation Marcelino Botin(Spain), Axeno7, Video In, TSV, and Fogo Islands (Canada),Watermill Centre (USA), and The Delfina Foundation (Dubai,UAE). Akhavan was the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin, 2012.

Akhavan took part in Delfina Foundation's satelliteresidency programme in Dubai in Spring 2011, which was in partnership with The Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, ArtDubai and Tashkeel. Along with four other artists, Akhavan was in residence for two months producing new work which was showcased in conjunction with Art Dubai, the pinnacle of theMiddle East's cultural calendar. The programme's aim was toshed light on emerging and mid-career talents.

Abbas Akhavan is represented by The Third Line Dubai, UAE

Delfina Foundation is an independent, non-profit foundation dedicated to facilitating artistic exchange and developingcreative practice through residencies, partnerships and publicprogramming, with a special focus on internationalcollaborations with the greater Middle East & North Africa. In addition to its programmes in the UK, Delfina Foundation hasorganised opportunities for artists abroad in six differentcountries through satellite programmes. To date, DelfinaFoundation has hosted nearly 100 artists, curators and writers from 18 different countries as well as organised over 130public events and activities.

In 2013, Delfina Foundation will expand into an adjacentproperty in Catherine Place SW1, doubling the number ofresidencies as well as the size of its exhibition space. The programmes for Delfina Foundation will also increasingly takeon an international tone and partnerships are already beingdeveloped with Brazil and India - in addition to European partners.

Canada House Arts Trust is an independent charity, which aimsto encourage and promote the arts with a Canadian focus ortheme in the UK. It gives financial support to individuals andgroups who seek to exhibit or perform their work in Britain.

Iran Heritage Foundation is a non-political UK registered charity with the mission to promote and preserve the history,languages and cultures of Iran and the Persian world. Theobjectives of the Foundation are pursued by organising, on aworldwide basis, diverse activities of cultural or scholarly merit.



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