Saturday, May 10, 2008

Azad Gallery Release on nonad

Azad Gallery No. 41, Salmas Sq., Golha Sq. Tehran, Iran +98 21 88008676

Kristen Alvanson

May 23-28, 2008

Two nomadic fabric chadors - blue (2007) and pewter (2008)

Azad Gallery is pleased to present nonad (of nines and nomads), a solo exhibition by the Iran-based American artist Kristen Alvanson, opening Friday, May 23. In Alvanson's first Tehran exhibition, a western artist reanimates her artistic experiments with an entirely new arsenal of conceptual and material resources.

Since leaving New York, Alvanson has explored the threefold of textiles, women, and the Middle East in all its formations, anomalies, enigmas, political speculations, and aesthetic conjectures. Her new work includes nomadic fabric chador (Persian veil) sculptures, abjad-9 drawings, and an animation from her Cosmic Drapery Project.

For the exhibition, Azad Gallery is transformed into a garden of hanging folds. Nine colorful chadors are hung throughout the gallery. As viewers weave through and interact with the installation, they discover implicit sociopolitical structures of these nomadic fabric sculptures as well as their nomadic persuasions in regard to art and creativity. At 350 cm x 190 cm, each chador contains nine panels, six made of different nomadic fabrics. The rest contain black fabric, the same fabric used for traditional back chadors.

On surrounding walls, the Abjad-9 drawings suggest collective shapes vaguely reminiscent of the patterns of traditional Islamic art. Drawn in Persian ink and calligraphic pen, the drawings reveal the affect space between women in veil or chador, and the forces, folds and movements between them. These elaborately nested structures include half-elliptical shapes, the shape of a Persian veil when fully spread out. These shapes represent women in chador as seen from above.

The animation ninefold is a further visualization of these complex, subterranean relationships and spaces. Like the chadors and the Abjad-9 drawings, it is structured by the number 9, standing for the occluded relations between textiles, women, and the Middle East. In the Middle Eastern occult, nine is the number of unceasing collectivity - worlds created through the hidden bonds of spells and collective tides.
Alvanson’s ongoing Cosmic Drapery Project is an exploration of the enigma of the Middle East through its drapery. It is nurtured by the history of textiles in the Middle East. This history includes clashes and secret dialogues between state and nomad art, their folk beliefs, textiles and modes of creativity.

Alvanson's nomadic fabric chadors explore the interactions between black and nomadic fabrics. These include the differences and compatibilities between patterns, textures, and weight; explicit folding lines; and the distribution of sequins. The potentials inherent in each fabric emerge as islands of alliance or as folds of opposition between state and nomadic art in the Middle East.

Kristen Alvanson (born in 1969 in Minneapolis) lives and works in Shiraz, Iran. She attended The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York and holds a degree from Sarah Lawrence College. Alvanson has exhibited in shows in both the United States and the Middle East. She will be participating in the upcoming International Roaming Biennial of Tehran. Her writing and artworks have been published in Collapse: Journal of Philosophical Research and Development, New Humanist, Frozen Tears III and will be included in an upcoming issue of Cabinet magazine.

For more information visit Alvanson's website at or email Mohsen Nabizadeh of Azad Gallery at azadgallery(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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