Stages
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Abbas Akhavan

Abbas Akhavan

Toronto

Variations on a Monument
A series of performances at sunset

Location: Bonnycastle Park fountain, 260 Assiniboine Avenue
Performance Schedule: Sunset. 30 minute performances.

Vida Lamour DeCosmo, Saturday, August 19, 8:23pm
Pharoah Moans , Monday, August 21, 8:21pm
Sandi Bay, Wednesday, August 23, 8:19pm
Foxy Lamour, Friday, August 25, 8:15pm

Prairie Sky and The Horrors of Lady Frances,
Sunday, August 27, 8:13pm
Lady Quinnzarr, Tuesday, August 29, 8:11pm
Cake, Thursday, August 31, 8:09

Abbas Akhavan's artistic practice is often influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works - be it the local architecture, certain economies, or the people and their particular social patterns. For STAGES, Akhavan invited a number of local performers to activate the central platform in the fountain in Bonnycastle Park. The plinth for a monument that stands in the middle of the fountain, now void of its pinnacle figure, was repurposed as a stage for seven performances that took place during seven sunsets. Using a fountain as a repurposed stage goes back to an old Iranian tradition where actors would create makeshift stages by covering small pools, common in the courtyards of houses and inns, with a board, thus their plays were called 'ruhozi' (on the pool) or 'takhte hozi' (on the pool board). 


Abbas Akhavan’s work looks at ideas of place, always responding to the environment in which the work is created and shown. Akhavan is celebrated for his persistent and astute interpretations of ethno-political power dynamics. Essential to Akhavan’s work is examining how racism and other forms of discrimination move through politics, military symbols and civic spaces.

Akhavan’s approach to art making ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his research is deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them. The domestic sphere, as a doubled space that oscillates between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in his practice. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.


Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014), the Sobey Art Award (2015), and the Fellbach Triennial Award (2016).

Les oeuvres d’Abbas Akhavan explorent les idées de lieux, résonnant toujours avec l’environnement dans lequel elle sont< créées et montrées. Akhavan est célébré pour ses interprétations répétées et astucieuses de la dynamique ethnopolitique du pouvoir.  Un élément essentiel du travail d’Akhavan est le soin porté à examiner comment le racisme et les autres formes de discrimination voyagent au travers de la politique, des symboles militaires et les espaces publics.

L’approche artistique d’Akhavan va des installations éphémères à la peinture, la vidéo, la sculpture et la perfomance. La direction de des recherches est profondément influencée par les particularités des sites dans lesquels il travaille: l’architecture qui les hébergent, les économies qui les entourent, et les gens qui les fréquentent. La sphère domestique, comme un espace double qui oscille entre hospitalité et hostilité, est un domaine de recherche permanent de sa pratique. Ses oeuvres les plus récentes ont changé d’orientation, se promenant dans les espaces et les espèces juste à côté de la maison - le jardin, l’arrière-cour, et les autres paysages du foyer.

Akhavan a reçu le Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014), le Sobey Art Award (2015), et le Fellbach Triennial Award (2016).

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Photos: Karen Asher