Published by Distanz
Spatial Experience versus Perception
Abbas Akhavan (b. Tehran, Iran, 1977; lives and works in Toronto) can be counted among a generation of emerging Canadian artists reflecting on social issues through ephemeral, site-specific works. Akhavan’s works – sculptures, installations, drawings, videos, and performances – deal with destruction and exclusion, but also with acts of preservation and restoration. His conceptual objects show a creative process that is not yet complete. In his works, Akhavan refers to nature and the four elements – fire, water, earth, and air. Plants or animals become elementary design components. In the exhibition at Villa Stuck, visitors first encounter a barrier in the form of a thuja hedge, bringing the outdoors inside. Here, the artist has left conspicuous traces of preceding exhibitions: the walls are unrenovated, the air-conditioning is switched off, and previously covered windows have been uncovered. Thus, Akhavan questions the responsibilities of a museum and whether or not common strategies of preservation are actually contemporary.
With a preface by Michael Buhrs and Verena Hein and contributions from Burcu Dogramaci, Vassilis Oikonomopoulos, Amy Zion, as well as a discussion between Abbas Akhavan and Verena Hein.