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Shahpour Pouyan: My Place is the Placeless
6 November 2017 @ 6.30 pm - 9.00 pmFree
Shahpour Pouyan’s third solo exhibition at Lawrie Shabibi features an installation of 33 ceramic domes alongside works on paper that investigate notions of identity and nationality.
Four years ago Pouyan took a genetic ancestry test that revealed a DNA conection through 33 countries spread across Central Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, Caucasus Mountains, Northern Europe and the British Isles. Pouyan spent two years obsessively researching distinctive historic architecture from these countries with the aim of unearthing their most significant monuments and ‘constructing’ his own identity through the language of architecture.
The core of the exhibition revolves around a large-scale cuboid industrial steel construction upon which rest the thirty-three ceramic sculptures – the results of his research. Each sculpture is representative of a dome from a monumental building in the country of the artist’s genetic extraction as revealed by the genetic test. Some domes relate to religious buildings or places of worship, others as pure statements of grandiosity and power.
Alongside the series of ceramic works, Pouyan presents a series of hand painted modified photographs found in imagery from Byzantine, Nordic, Mesopotamian and Persian sources. The figures (such as those seen in coins, manuscripts, miniatures, and sculptures) have been manipulated to subtly incorporate his own features – they are self-portraits of his past and present self. By changing these works he developed a genealogy of ancestors that are rooted in aggression of power.