A Duo Exhibition by Mahdieh Kavakebpanah & Azin Zolfaghari

Group Exhibition
January 14  —  January 30, 2022
-1 × Underground

Mahdieh Kavakebpanah and Azin Zolfaghari’s duo show deals with the notions of dissention and discord. Azin traces contradictions in the accumulation of disintegrating urban spaces, while Mahdieh examines the seemingly natural landscapes by making an artificial green substance flow through it. Mahdieh and Azin’s works have been featured in the “Episode” group shows.

With a minimalist approach in her “Stricken” series, Azin Zolfaghari depicts dull, cement spaces that are more sequestered than her previous series. In her artistic practice, she has always considered destruction and corruption. In Azin’s works that are often made of mixed media, home has a twofold meaning: a safe haven and a homeland. The simultaneity of the individual and the collective in her paintings always creates contradictory situations that are on the verge of destruction, while they also look beautiful. In her recent paintings, with the predominance of the color gray, most of the space of each work is devoted to the coldness of vacant spaces, and the smaller part to the personal safe zone and the self. The duality in composition signifies repression and, ultimately, the domination of the part of “the other,” collapse, and being stricken.

In her “Legitimate Nature” series, Mahdieh Kavakebpanah does not represent nature and seeks to emphasize the sheer practice of painting. Following her previous paintings that reference her childhood and adolescence years, she also has been influenced by other artists, especially Olafur Eliasson, using images from virtual space to place herself in someone else’s world. Thus, she undermines the hegemony of artistic impression and provides a way for an independent interpretation of the image. In Mahdieh’s work, the color green does not represent nature or sanctity, but flows as harmful, chemical lavas through nature, poisoning and destroying it. Having grown up in a religious family and neighborhood, Mahdieh portrays the adventurous experience of her life. “Legitimate Nature” depicts human’s subjective and physical aggression toward nature, whose loser will ultimately be humanity itself.

The conflict between “the self,” as the defeated, and “the other,” as the oppressor, can be traced in Azin and Mahdieh’s paintings, because both of them create their works seeking to question why the system of power dominates.