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Iranian sculptor Masoud Akhavanjam will exhibit two large scale, stainless steel sculptures, as part of the GAA Foundation’s PERSONAL STRUCTURES – open borders exhibition, in the context of the 2019 Venice Biennale.
The sculptures, Dilemma of Man and Metamorphosis will be exhibited publicly in Venice’s waterfront park, Giardini Marinaressa from 5 May to 29 November 2019. Akhavanjam’s industrial yet delicate forms draw on philosophy, contemporary socio-political issues and Persian mythology, so that within each work a didactic tale is contained. Both works contain three visible figures, melded seemingly effortlessly into each other.
Dilemma of Man (400 cm x 246 cm) is a portrayal of the struggle between good and evil. A human figure is depicted with a pair of wings. One wing is a magnificent feathered structure – the wing of the angel, while the other takes on a bat like appearance – that of the devil. The work evokes the metaphor of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, and the conflict of day-to-day choices between good and evil. For Akhavanjam the figure is influential members of society, and those whose decisions have a great impact on humanity. The figure faces this dilemma: to choose what is easy and wrong or to choose what is hard, selfless and good.
Metamorphosis (207 cm x 80 cm) provides a similar comment on society, this time suggesting that humanity must work together to achieve the greater good. Three figures can be deciphered in the sculpture: a bull, an elephant and a deer. This combination is inspired by the Persian mythical figures of the Achaemenid Empire of Iran from around 500 BC. By combining strong, powerful beasts with smaller prey, the artist tells the age old tale of how harmonic coexistence can be achieved if everyone practices tolerance, regardless of differences.
Akhavanjam’s sculptures are made entirely from stainless steel, a material he began to use when working for his father’s manufacturing company for household appliances. While initially using it for more prosaic creations such as sinks and taps, he began to realise its worth for fine art sculpture. Still appearing strong and sturdy, with a weight of up to one ton, the way in which the sculptor coaxes the works means they simultaneously take on a delicate, beautiful and gleaming form.
Akhavanjam says of the meaning of his sculptures: “Humanity has come a long way in terms of tolerating and accepting one another in order to coexist, but it seems like we still have far to go. This is where art can play a part, by demonstrating examples of this tolerance, and how far it can take us. These public sculptures are my plea to the earth to find the good in everyone, and use it to make the world a better place.”
Janet Rady is a specialist in Contemporary Art from the Middle East and has been working with the artist since 2016. Rady says: “‘Masoud is a significant figure in the contemporary Iranian market and his participation in projects both inside and outside of Iran are testament to both growing international interest in his work and his renown in the artworld. This is a rare chance to see two new monumental works from the artist on public display in Venice during the Biennale.”
The works in the GAA Foundation’s exhibition PERSONAL STRUCTURES – open borders explore the commonness and difference between Europeans in dialogue with works of non-Europeans. The exhibition is hosted and supported by the European Cultural Centre in two of its prestigious Palazzos in the centre of Venice – Palazzo Bembo, Palazzo Mora as well as the Giardini Marinaressa.
Masoud Akhavanjam, Dilemma of Man 17
The VIA Arts Prize presents its 2019 exhibition, an eclectic group show in London showcasing the top thirty original works by thirty UK-based artists specifically inspired by Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.
Chosen from around 400 applications, the shortlisted works will be on display in London at the Embassy of Brazil’s remarkable Sala Brasil from Wednesday 13 November to Wednesday 11 December 2019. The public can visit for free from Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm.
The exhibition will be the culmination of the VIA Arts Prize’s mission to deepen cultural awareness of Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese arts and cultures in the UK.
A jury of prestigious judges will make the final selection of the 2019 winning entries at the opening of the exhibition. The People’s Choice Award will also be awarded to the public’s favorite artwork. Visitors can vote in situ during the exhibition of the final 30 selected works and results will be revealed at the end of the show.
As the winner of the VIA Arts Prize in 2018, Portuguese mixed media artist Hugo Brazão will present a new immersive installation alongside the 2019 finalists. Exploring themes of misdirection and disorientation, the installation will address folk symbolism and respond to the architectural features of the exhibition space itself.
The VIA Arts Prize is organised by the ACALASP (the Association of Cultural Attachés of Latin America, Spain and Portugal) and is hosted annually at the Embassy of Brazil in London. The initiative is sponsored by Itáu, and supported by People’s Palace Projects (Queen Mary University of London) and Instituto Cervantes.
Monday to Friday
10am to 6pm
A major new exhibition Tolerance by Patrick Altes at Gerald Moore Gallery confronts negative cultural stereotypes and advocates for tolerance and respect in times of angst, division and separatism.
Born in colonised Algeria and having lived in many countries – including South Africa under apartheid – before settling in Britain in 2006, international artist Patrick Altes’s work is deeply informed by his own personal history and the diasporic experiences that have both defined his identity and fuelled his artistic exploration.
Altes has created several installation pieces for this exhibition, together with new digital collages, posters and paintings, often involving the layering process that has become a hallmark of his work.
A leading light in the emerging Franco-Algerian art movement, Altes’s first-hand experience of unjust, brutal and discriminatory societies fuelled a sense for the politically, socially and humanly acceptable which has become a thematic concern visible in all his creative work. With perilous journeys depositing migrants on European – and now, British – shores, Altes turns his attention to the harrowing circumstances that increasingly accompany migration and resettlement.
The exhibition curated by Middle Eastern Art specialist Janet Rady and supported by the Arts Council will encompass outreach and public engagement activities. These activities will encourage pupils, students and participating members of the public to reflect on our values and ideas– bringing concepts such as the rule of law, diversity, democracy and individual liberty into the conversation.
Karim Sergoua, Curator of the third Mediterranean Biennale of Contemporary Art of Oran says:
“From the onset, Patrick Altes strikes you with his empathy, his intelligence, his creativity as well as his artistic proficiency. His engagement with memory takes its roots in his early life in North Africa and has influenced a complex visual language that powerfully serves its purpose. His current creations elicit strong powerful sweeping emotions in the viewer.”
A Wave of Dreams Art Lab in St Leonards-on-Sea, where the artist lives and works, will host a ‘prequel’ to the show from Monday 14 October to Sunday 10 November 2019.
Gerald Moore Gallery
London, SE9 4RW
Saturday 10am-4pm or by appointment
GERALD MOORE GALLERY
Gerald Moore Gallery is a young centre for modern and contemporary art with learning at its heart. Opened in April 2012, in Mottingham, the gallery is uniquely set within the grounds of Eltham College and is a valuable resource for the students and the local community. The gallery has gained momentum hosting some exciting exhibitions including works by Matisse, Louise Bourgeois and Cornelia Parker, whilst supporting emerging local artists. In unison with the exhibitions, the gallery’s outreach programme works with local community groups, teachers and schools, creating lasting relationships with our locality. Gerald Moore Gallery was made possible with the foresight and generosity of Old Elthamian, Dr Gerald Moore, many of whose works are archived at the gallery and who has a permanent exhibition on display.
Altes is an artist of French/Spanish origins, whose work has been deeply informed by his own personal history. Born in Algeria, he has made a distinctive contribution to the postcolonial discourse and the emerging Franco-Algerian art movement. As a young adult, he lived in South Africa for two years under the apartheid. He was working at the University of Fort Hare, a key institution in higher education for black Africans, which counted among its former students a number of prominent leading opponents of the apartheid. This was his first-hand experience of a society based on discrimination, repression and deprivation of civil and political rights for a large part of the population. It deeply marked him and fuelled in him a sense for the politically, socially and humanly acceptable. He is interested in the evolving relationship between the contemporary world and our deeper humanity.
He was twice recipient of the prestigious Leverhulme Trust Award. He co-curated Algerianism 1, as part of the pan-Arabic Nour Festival in London’s Kensington and Chelsea (2015). He also participated in the 3rd Biennale of Mediterranean Contemporary Arts in Oran, Algeria (2014), Art Bahrain (2015), the 7th International Festival of Contemporary Arts (FIAC) at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts in Algiers (2015), and Art 16 London (2016) and the 4th Biennale of Mediterranean Contemporary Art in Oran (2017). He has works in the Museum of Modern Arts of Oran (MAMO), and the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts of Algiers (MAMA).
Based between London and the United Arab Emirates, Gallery Director and Curator, Janet Rady is a Specialist in Contemporary Art from the Middle East, with over thirty years’ experience of the International Art Market including Leading Auction Houses and Major Commercial Galleries.