Morehshin Allahyari: Everything in Between

April 14 - May 22, 2016

reception: Thursday, April 14, 6pm - 9pm

artist talk: Thursday, April 21, 6pm

Verge Center for the Arts is pleased to present Everything in Between , a solo exhibition fromBay Area based artist, Morehshin Allahyari. Everything in Between showcases a selection of works by Allahyari, highlighting her continuing interest in poetic and practical archiving and documenting of the censored through the use of technology. In her exhibition at Verge, Allahyari explores censorship on the destruction and removal of female body, objects, and the internet through the acts of storytelling, digital and physical archiving, 3D printing, and reappropriation. Allahyari’s work studies the tension between censorship, religion, politics and the forbidden; exploring an expanded view of these relationships in digital and contemporary discourse.

Everything in Between features work from six different projects and bodies of work from Allahyari, with the title of the show being taken from one of the selected works. In the ongoing research and archival project, Everything in Between, Allahyari includes videos of Iranian women singing solo- a practice that has been banned since the 1979 Iranian Revolution. In Islam, women’s voices are believed to have the potential to trigger immoral sensual – or kinetic – arousal. These videos, along with hundreds that have been uploaded onto YouTube, have triggered a lot of interesting and complicated discussions on social media. Allahyari uses the web as a platform for the documentation of these social, political and digital phenomenons.

Her most recent work, Material Speculation: ISIS , is a 3D modeling and 3D printing project focused on the reconstruction of 12 selected (original) artifacts that were destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Allahyari’s selection of Material Speculation statues at Verge highlight the destruction of the female body as a form of ownership and censorship by removing the female body from the public sphere. With Like Pearls , Allahyari created a web-based project which is a mash-up of images and GIFs collected from her Farsi email spam and online underwear stores based in Iran. The project examines how the kitsch aesthetics of spam and advertisement on the Iranian web is a complex phenomena, involving layers of cultural and religious censorship and oppression toward women and romance.

In Allahyari’s Dark Matter series, her 3D printed sculptures are a combination of censored and/or objects forbidden in Iran. Many of these objects are common (dog, dildo, gun, necktie, satellite dish, etc.) and freely used or available in other countries, but are deemed undesirable by Iranian government laws. By printing these objects into physical existence and placing them in humorous and surreal juxtapositions, Allahyari simultaneously resists and brings awareness about the censorship of objects in the lives of Iranian citizens. In Mere Spaces All Things Side by Side is the first video in a series which explores the complex adoption and accessibility of the internet in a developing country where the internet is heavily censored and controlled. Using her adolescence Yahoo chat archive as a point of departure, In Mere Spaces All Things Side by Side creates an imagined space between the physical and the virtual, poetically connecting the failure of the relationship to the failure of wtechnology and communication.

Artist Information

Morehshin Allahyari is a new media artist, activist, educator, and occasional curator. She was born and raised in Iran and moved to the United States in 2007. Her work extensively deals with the political, social, and cultural contradictions we face every day. She thinks about technology as a philosophical toolset to reflect on objects; a poetic means to document the personal and collective lives we live and our struggles as humans in the 21st century. Morehshin has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops around the world including Museum of Contemporary Art in Montreal, Pori Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Museo Ex-Teresa Arte Actual, Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Miami Art fair, and Material Art fair. She has been an artist in residence at Carnegie Mellon University’s STUDIO for Creative Inquiry (2015), Autodesk Pier9 Workshop in San Francisco (2015), and BANFF Centre (2013), among others.

Her work has been featured in NYTimes, Huffington Post, Wired, NPR, VICE, Parkett Art Magazine, Rhizome, Hyperallergic, Dazed Digital, Neural Magazine, Global Voices Online, and Al Jazeera among others. Morehshin is the Co-Founder of the Experimental Research Lab at Pier9/Autodesk.