Abbas Akhavan

Abbas Akhavan, Variations on Ghost, 2017/2018. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Rob Battersby

Abbas Akhavan, Variations on Ghost, 2017/2018. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Rob Battersby

Abbas Akhavan, Variations on Ghost, 2017/2018. Installation view at Bluecoat, Liverpool Biennial 2018. Photo: Rob Battersby

Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Tehran, Iran) lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Akhavan’s practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. His research has been deeply influenced by the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people who frequent them. Recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home – the garden, the backyard and other domesticated landscapes. 

A monumental sculpture by Abbas Akhavan fills the Vide gallery at Bluecoat. Variations on Ghost makes reference to artworks destroyed by ISIS over the last decade, in particular the ancient sculptures depicting the Assyrian protective deities called Lamassu – half man, half lion. Using a technique called ‘dirt ramming’ Akhavan has recreated the claws of the hybrid deity with soil and water. Over the exhibition period, the physical appearance and smell of the sculpture will change, its surface appearing more stone-like as a grey crust develops.

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). Recent exhibitions include Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (2017); Salt, Istanbul, Turkey (2017); David Roberts Art Foundation, London, UK (2017); Sharjah Biennial 13, UAE (2017); Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2016); and Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2012). 

Abbas Akhavan, Variations on Ghost, 2017/2018 is commissioned by Liverpool Biennial. Originally commissioned by Villa Stuck, Munich.

Supported by

Canada Council for the Arts
High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom

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