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Domestic Nature

Abbas Akhavan in conversation with Anthony Downey

004 / 29 January 2013

In this video interview, artist Abbas Akhavan walks Anthony Downey through his exhibition Study of a Garden. Produced during a ten-week residency hosted by the Delfina Foundation in London, and in direct response to the Foundation’s adjacent and soon-to-be renovated space at 31 Catherine Place, the exhibition staged a series of tableaux that placed external elements – creeping ivy, garden plants, and soil – throughout the building. References to landscape and nature abound in this installation as does the suggestion of latent traumas and submerged narratives. Born in Tehran, Akhavan has been living in Canada since 1992. Study for a Garden was the artist’s first solo exhibition in the UK.





Abbas Akhavan is an artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries such as Vancouver Art Gallery and Artspeak (Canada), Kunsten Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), Le Printemps de Septembre a Toulouse (France), Belvedere Museum (Austria) and The Darling Foundry (Canada). He is represented by The Third Line (Dubai). Abbas was previously a resident artist at A.i.R. Dubai, a residency partnership between Art Dubai, Tashkeel, and The Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.

About the author

Anthony Downey

Anthony Downey is the Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa within the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media at Birmingham City University. Recent and upcoming publications include Don’t shrink me to the size of a bullet: The Works of Hiwa K (Walther König Books, forthcoming, 2017); The Matter of Critique, in partnership with Renzo Martens and the Institute of Human Activities(Third Text, forthcoming 2017); Future Imperfect: Contemporary Art Practices and Cultural Institutions in the Middle East (Sternberg Press, 2016); Dissonant Archives: Contemporary Visual Culture and Contested Narratives in the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2015); Art and Politics Now  (Thames and Hudson, 2014); Uncommon Grounds: New Media and Critical Practice in North Africa and the Middle East (I.B. Tauris, 2014); Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (JRP Ringier, 2015); and The Future of a Promise: Contemporary Art from the Arab World (Ibraaz Publishing, 2011). Anthony has a PhD from Goldsmiths College, London, and is the Editor-in-Chief of Ibraaz. He is a former member of the editorial board of Third Text  and now sits on its advisory board. He also sits on the Executive Board of Directors of the Kamel Lazaar Foundation, and is a Trustee of Strange Cargo, Arts Cabinet, and the Maryam and Edward Eisler Foundation. Since 2012, he has been a Consulting Editor for the Open Arts Journal (Open University, England)