Nathalie Karg Gallery is pleased to present Passing, a solo exhibition of works by Amir Nikravan. The exhibition will run from September – October, and is accompanied with a text by Maura Brewer.
Since his first exhibition with the gallery in 2017, Nikravan has continued to delve into the creation of a sculptural vernacular of Middle Eastern forms that were culturally appropriated by Western design and architecture. His project pulls conceptual influence from Edward Said’s renowned Orientalism (1978), where the Palestinian thinker describes the Western strategy of framing non-Western cultures as feminine, spiritual, static and undeveloped, which in opposition, casts the West as masculine, logical, evolving, and contemporary. Nikravan utilizes carefully delineated geometric forms and finishes to collapse form and content in an integrated fashion, questioning this normative paradigm.
In this process, the artist investigates how aesthetics constitute an underlying set of assumptions that are not merely formal but also political by setting up a system of what he calls “aesthetic betrayals”. Each of the three elements that constitute a work – form, finish, and presentation – create a rupture in relation to their visual expectations and historical precedents.
Created through a process of intricately cutting and laminating sheets of wood, Nikravan transforms rough hewn shapes into sleek structures through many layers of sanding. The reanimated conglomerate forms evoke constructed pediments and breeze block facades of iconic Modernist buildings that can be traced back to architectural glyphs from 6th century B.C. Persia.
Nikravan further complicates this slippage of material recognition by using faux-finishing techniques to intricately paint each object, creating a look discordant with the objects hand made delicacy. Approximations of industrial materials like Corten steel and polished aluminum impart each work with the visual posture of high art fabrication -heavy and hard works for outdoor display – allowing them to perform a butch drag counter to their un-weatherproof and fragile actuality.
Finally, pedestals that form to the shape of each object create a congruity that unites object and plinth; the interdependence of which thrusts all mythologies of the neutrality of the stand to the forefront.
Amir Nikravan (b.1983) is a Queer Iranian-Mexican-American artist based in Los Angeles. He has held previous solo exhibitions at Vigo, London (2019); VSF Los Angeles (2018, 2014); Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York (2017); and Jonathan Viner, London (2015).