Canadian Art

Slideshow

Abbas Akhavan: The Journeyman

An online supplement to the Spring 2012 issue of Canadian Art
Abbas Akhavan <em>Makeshift Objects</em> 2008–ongoing Installation detail Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai / photo William W. Ting Abbas Akhavan Makeshift Objects 2008–ongoing Installation detail Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai / photo William W. Ting

Abbas Akhavan <em>Makeshift Objects</em> 2008–ongoing Installation detail Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai / photo William W. Ting

Artist Abbas Akhavan is a journeyman of sorts. Born in Tehran and now based in Toronto, Akhavan has spent the past five years making drawings, videos and performances that hinge on travel—both physical and mental—in locations as diverse as Vancouver, Dubai, Berlin, Vienna, Aalborg and this spring at the Darling Foundry in Montreal.

Yet the subject of Akhavan's work is centred in the domestic sphere, investigating how we inhabit familiar spaces across unfamiliar cultures and circumstances, and looking at what it means, in a globalized era, to be anchored to ideas of family, tradition, host and guest. (His 2011 work Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Rest, for instance, consisted in part of remnants of a 48-hour performance where two European tourists visiting United Arab Emirates were commissioned to spend two alternating 12-hour shifts resting in a bed located in the artist's studio.)

In our Spring 2012 magazine feature “Home Fronts,” Vancouver writer Hadani Ditmars delves into these itinerant notions of home and away in Akhavan’s practice, revealing an artist who deftly straddles both realities, as evidenced in this selection of images and videos.

  • Thumb for akhavan_img2_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img3_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img4_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img5_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img6_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img7_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img8_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img9_v1000.jpg
  • Thumb for akhavan_img10_v1000.jpg
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Teaspoon (Modified) from the series Makeshift Objects 2008–ongoing Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan <em>Teaspoon (Modified)</em> from the series <em>Makeshift Objects</em> 2008–ongoing Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan Teaspoon (Modified) from the series Makeshift Objects 2008–ongoing Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Toilet Paper (Modified) from the series Makeshift Objects 2008–ongoing Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan <em>Toilet Paper (Modified)</em> from the series <em>Makeshift Objects</em> 2008–ongoing Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan Toilet Paper (Modified) from the series Makeshift Objects 2008–ongoing Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Landscape: For the Birds 2009 Installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery Courtesy the artist and VAG / photo Rachel Topham
Abbas Akhavan <em>Landscape: For the Birds</em> 2009 Installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery Courtesy the artist and VAG / photo Rachel Topham
Abbas Akhavan Landscape: For the Birds 2009 Installation view at Vancouver Art Gallery Courtesy the artist and VAG / photo Rachel Topham
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Islands: Study for a Map 2010 Installation view at Third Line Gallery Dubai Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan <em>Islands: Study for a Map</em> 2010 Installation view at Third Line Gallery Dubai Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan Islands: Study for a Map 2010 Installation view at Third Line Gallery Dubai Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Study for a Blue Shield 2011 Installation view at ABC Contemporary Berlin Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan <em>Study for a Blue Shield</em> 2011 Installation view at ABC Contemporary Berlin Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Abbas Akhavan Study for a Blue Shield 2011 Installation view at ABC Contemporary Berlin Courtesy the artist and the Third Line Dubai
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Hawkers 2011 Installation detail at Trinity Square Video Courtesy the artist, the Third Line Dubai and Trinity Square Video / photo Jean-Paul Kelly
Abbas Akhavan <em>Hawkers</em> 2011 Installation detail at Trinity Square Video Courtesy the artist, the Third Line Dubai and Trinity Square Video / photo Jean-Paul Kelly
Abbas Akhavan Hawkers 2011 Installation detail at Trinity Square Video Courtesy the artist, the Third Line Dubai and Trinity Square Video / photo Jean-Paul Kelly
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Hawkers 2011 Video still Courtesy the artist, the Third Line Dubai and Trinity Square Video

Watch the video on our Vimeo site

Abbas Akhavan <em>Hawkers</em> 2011 Video still Courtesy the artist, the Third Line Dubai and Trinity Square Video<BR><p>
<A href="http://vimeo.com/canadianart/akhavan-hawkers" target="_blank">Watch the video on our Vimeo site</a></p>
Abbas Akhavan Hawkers 2011 Video still Courtesy the artist, the Third Line Dubai and Trinity Square Video

Watch the video on our Vimeo site

Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Rest 2011 Installation detail Courtesy the artist and Delfina Foundation London
Abbas Akhavan <em>Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Rest</em> 2011 Installation detail Courtesy the artist and Delfina Foundation London
Abbas Akhavan Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Rest 2011 Installation detail Courtesy the artist and Delfina Foundation London
Full Screen
Abbas Akhavan Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Boghcheh/Untitled Laundry 2011 Installation detail in public courtyard, Bastakiya, Dubai Courtesy the artist and Delfina Foundation London

Watch the video on our Vimeo site

Abbas Akhavan <em>Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Boghcheh/Untitled Laundry</em> 2011 Installation detail in public courtyard, Bastakiya, Dubai Courtesy the artist and Delfina Foundation London<br><p>
<A href="http://vimeo.com/canadianart/akhavan-variations-on-ghosts-and-guests" target="_blank">Watch the video on our Vimeo site</a></p>
Abbas Akhavan Variations on Ghosts and Guests: Boghcheh/Untitled Laundry 2011 Installation detail in public courtyard, Bastakiya, Dubai Courtesy the artist and Delfina Foundation London

Watch the video on our Vimeo site

This article was first published online on February 29, 2012.

RELATED STORIES

  • Changing Stakes: Deconstructing Dubai

    Dubai, home to the world’s tallest building, is a city known for extremes. This fall, fissures between its fantastical marketing and hard-labour reality were concisely revealed in an exhibition at Mercer Union. Cheyanne Turions reviews.

  • everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler

    The only thing the curator Juan Gaitán asked of the artists contributing to “everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler” was not to consider the gallery “insufficient.”

  • When the Mood Strikes Us: Altered States

    From impressionist predilections for absinthe to Warhol’s mind-altering Factory parties, narcotics have long been affiliated with “bad boy” avant-garde artists. Now, a new group exhibition at Winnipeg’s PLATFORM explores how artists currently represent “the poetics and politics of narcotics.”

 

FOUNDATION NEWS

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

ONLINE

  • Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller: Black Birds

    New York critic Joseph R. Wolin heads to the Park Avenue Armory where Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are creating a buzz (and other sounds) at the US premiere of a dark, nightmarish installation originally created for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

  • Grange Prize 2012: Hot Shots

    One of Canada’s largest cash-value art prizes—$65,000 in total with $50,000 going to the winner, $5,000 to three runners-up—announced its finalists this week. Take in their wide-ranging works in this slideshow.

  • Wanda Koop: Into the Woods

    A visit to Wanda Koop’s cabin near Riding Mountain National Park in southern Manitoba proves intriguing for Vancouver critic Robin Laurence. There, Laurence writes, Koop bridges old Grey Owl myths with a new series of paintings on our increasingly digital culture.

  • Brad Tinmouth: Survival Strategies

    The basement of an art gallery may seem an unlikely place to create an emergency shelter. However, Xpace's lower gallery is an ideal setting for Brad Tinmouth's “If Times Get Tough or Even If They Don't,” which evokes a cold-war bunker.

  • Wim Delvoye: Blame it on Paris

    Silk-covered pigs, lattice-cut car tires and a tattooed man are just a few of the works that Belgian artist Wim Delvoye has shuttled into the old, Gothic wing of the Louvre this summer. Jill Glessing reviews, finding a terrific amalgam of high and low.

More Online

Report a problem