08/10/2012 - 20/11/2012

Delfina Foundation presents its final exhibition before a major renovation by London-based architects Studio Octopi and Cairo-based Shahira Fahmy Architects. Opening during Frieze Art Fair week, Study for a Garden is 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 Gardenalso marks the last exhibition at the Foundation before it closes for renovation in January 2013.

Akhavan’s practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video and performance. Much of his early works explore the relationship between the house and nation state and how the trauma and systemic violence enacted upon civilians can be inherited and re-enacted within the family lineage. More recent works have shifted focus onto spaces just outside the home—the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.

Folding the border between the garden and the domestic space, Study for a Garden explores the intrusion of nature into the house where familiar spaces have gradually been invaded by foreign elements. The trespass of water and vegetation into various rooms of the house is a continuation 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 back to the basement, the installations made of invasive plant species and hedges govern the audience’s movements, rendering them at times as guests and at times trespassers. These territorial gardens are about the naturalisation of barriers; every garden is a guarded space, an enclosure, a compound.  Water, vegetation and gardening tools create discriminatory spaces, keeping some species alive and others dead.

The residency and exhibition are in partnership with Canada House Arts Trust and Iran Heritage Foundation. The opening reception is in association with The Third Line Gallery (Dubai, UAE).

Abbas Akhavan
Study for a Garden

9 October–20 November 2012

Opening: 8 October, 15–19h
Talk: 25 October, 19–20:30h
Abbas Akhavan in conversation with Mark Rappolt (Editor, Art Review)

Delfina Foundation
31 Catherine Place
London SW1E 6DY

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