Online Exhibitions

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Outsider Art From Iran is an exhibition curated by Morteza Zahedi as part of Dastan's Annual Outsider Art Exhibition. Morteza Zahedi (b. 1978, Rasht, Iran), artist and curator, has been working on his Outsider Art Project for many years, locating, studying and promoting Iranian outsider artists. This exhibition on Collectionair features works by five outsider artists from different generations, varying in style, material and approach. These artists work outside of confines of the ‘official’ art scene and have not had contact with the mainstream and commercial art world. Curator’s Note: ‘Outsider’ means unrelated, dis-harmonic, one who does not belong to any group or cult… and Outsider Art is art that is being created and developed outside of the main artistic circles and art scene. Such an endeavor is considered as amateurish by academics and they usually refuse to consider it serious. Outsider Art is a genre of visual arts first mentioned by Roger Cardinal, the British writer, in 1972 as a synonym for ‘Art Brut’ which was used by Jean Dubuffet for works of art created outside the boundaries of official culture. The study of this genre focuses on art that is outside the academic realms of technique, form and knowledge. Outsider art is in contrast to Insider Art which is defined as official art or art taught at academies and educational institutions approved by the art scene, galleries and the art market. Outsider art is a form of artistic creation by people who are described as “the masses”, having minimal contact with the art world and the cultural elite, and having received no artistic education, thus not being regarded as professionals and mostly becoming known after their death — and this is a form of discrimination. Outsider artists, create art with innovative and obsessive approaches in a pure sense, without purpose, contact or knowledge of genres and historical contexts, relying on their own passion and not social or financial issues. In most cases, these artists are categorized as sociological case studies and their art should be examined in the context of sociology. It should be noted that the visual aspects of the works of these artists are replete with a frank expressiveness, thought by many experts —in instances— to have a higher degree of originality and impact compared to mainstream and central artistic endeavors of the official artists." Morteza Zahedi

07.10.17 - 04.11.17

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Curated by:



Silence Organized by Vera Yu and Damien Zhang In today’s rapidly changing world, the works of the three female artists, all from China and born in and after 1989, in the show, propose a reading that is “untimely” slow and quiet, opposite of the seemingly instant act of pressing the shutter. When we look at their works, there emerges in us an irresistible but natural will to hold our breath, slowing adjusting it to the same rhythm of the circulation of power and energy emitted from these images. All the works in this show, directly or indirectly, refer to the concepts of landscape (whether outdoor or domestic), abstraction and human body (whether exterior or interior), the boundaries of which are deliberately blurred and left ambiguous. In these beautifully and sometimes violently constructed images, one is invited to take a break from our daily errands, and to simply contemplate and wonder. The viewers are to have a direct experience with the images, tracing time and being traced themselves. Zhang Wenxin (b. 1989) sees the world as a sleeping beast, whose quietness functions as an umbrella, hiding truths of the world, hence encouraging us to uncover them. She reckons that once we become adults, we often force the world to change into something leaping forward, after which we chase incessantly. The silence is then lost. Zhang’s work is, therefore, an attempt to restore the world’s silence and our “wild nature” of desiring truths. Chen Zhe (b. 1989)’s "The Bearable" series documents the artist’s self-mutilating years. The act of self-mutilation, once transformed into Chen’s visual language, becomes a means of healing. These images are mostly taken in domestic settings and investigate the body as material. The confines of the spaces where the photos were made do not restrict them from spreading and extending out to a more imaginative sphere, forming “domestic landscapes”. The silent process of healing silences harm. Is one then being healed? Chen Xiaoyi (b. 1992) employs the old Photogravure process in her image-making. It is a rather physically tiring and demanding process which requires acts of repetition. According to the artist, repetition, however, takes her into a state of inner balance, close to meditation. It is the kind of work that requires a lot of attention from the artist, who then gets rewarded by that of the viewers. For with Photogravure, Chen achieves in demonstrating the very details and continuous tones of color, even when it’s mostly in black and white. “Everyone is Sisyphus.” Chen Xiaoyi

04.10.17 - 04.11.17

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Curated by:

Hervé Perdriolle


Born in Paris, France and currently based in Tel-Aviv, Israel, Jennifer Abessira specializes in using images that reflect cultures and communities, which she then assembles to create a meaningful and colorful narrative. Abessira is known for using her phone or a simple digital camera to make bold, bright images where “high-brow” cultural artifacts and random objects coexist in a single frame. In her ongoing Elastique project, Abessira produces images from her daily life without a studio, a fact that dictates her spontaneous approach towards the medium of image making. Each diptych in the series creates an association between two different images in an attempt to classify and arrange the artist’s life, which is dominated by an unstoppable flow of images. For a selection of works from her London Bridge series, Abessira revives archival black-and-white photographs of important local landmarks by concealing certain parts of the images with vibrant paint. While Abessira’s strokes may look quick and impulsive, their resemblance to letters or glyphs could make one think that she was trying to reveal a secret language hidden in the contours and angles of the city’s architecture. Abessira’s overall practice is heavily inspired by her passion for cinema - particularly the work of French director Eric Rohmer - and the medium’s ability to depict the “holiness of daily living”. A physical exhibition will also take place from September 15th to November 26th, 2017, running parallel to a public installation of Abessira's vibrant c-prints in partnership with Network Rail, Team London Bridge and MTArt. The artist’s work will be presented on the 72 bollards of St. Thomas Street, outside the redeveloped London Bridge Station.

02.10.17 - 15.11.17

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Curated by:

Alix Janta-Polczynski