Jul 14th 2017

Sedentary Fragmentation

@ Heaven Gallery

1550 N Milwaukee Ave. 2nd floor, Chicago, IL 60622

Opening Friday, July 14th, from 7PM - 11PM

On view through Friday, August 25th

In 1952 an Iranian-Assyrian student Hannibal Alkhas came to the U.S to study medicine, but decided instead to attend the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There he studied under Boris Anisfeld, one of his most influential teachers. After returning to Iran, Alkhas helped modernize the pedagogy of painting in the School of Fine Arts at the University of Tehran, where he taught many prominent Iranian artists. In 1963 another young artist, Mehdi Hosseini, came to Chicago and enrolled in the painting department at the School of the Art Institute. Having experienced the Midwestern art scene, he returned to Iran and started teaching at art universities, becoming one of the pioneers of Iranian contemporary art. Though he is not heavily represented on the market, he is one of the leading historians of Persian painting and is on the faculty of the University of the Arts in Tehran.

After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, many families moved to the U.S to seek a better life. These families stayed and gave birth to children who are now second generation Iranian-Americans. A few members of this generation have chosen to pursue art and have been constantly challenged by issues of identity due to their dual heritage. Many have struggled against art criticism that uses their heritage as an interpretive lens for their practice, which raises the question: Why have art critics, curators and audiences persisted in identifying these artworks with a particular region?

In 2010, despite financial hardship and sanctions, the next generation of artists came from Iran to pursue their graduate degrees in American art schools, which had been an uncommon choice for the previous 30 years. The lack of Iranian artists in the Western art scene sets narrow expectations for these recent immigrants, who were forced to respond to their experience in a new environment.

“Sedentary Fragmentation” tries to bring together Iranian voices, generations, and alumni who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but whose practices are individual and different. This exhibition will show how these nine artists subtly use and reveal their identities in a politically complex milieu. Showcasing archival materials from the artists’ experience in both Chicago and Tehran, this exhibition offers challenging points of view about several generations of artists who are often misrepresented by having identities placed upon them that do not define them as artists.

Curated by Kimia Maleki

Opening Reception
Friday, July 14

Artist talk
Saturday, July 22

Performance by Yasamin Ghanbari
Friday August 4


About the Artists

Hannibal Alkhas (1930, Iran)

Hannibal Alkhas (1930-2010) painter, sculptor, writer, poet and translator. Alkhas began his artistic training as a child in Iran and went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1959. In addition to over fifty years as a professional painter, he had a long career in Iran and in the United States as an art professor and mentored many aspiring artists. He also established the successful Gilgamesh Gallery, one of the very first modern art galleries in Iran. His works have been exhibited in Iran, Europe, Canada, Australia, Israel, Dubai, and the US. He published art criticism, collections of short stories, children’s books and memoirs in Farsi, and composed many poems in his native Assyrian (Syriac). After attending his 80th birthday retrospective exhibition in Iran, Hannibal Alkhas died in California on September 14, 2010. He wrote and painted actively until his final illness.


Mehdi Hosseini (1943, Iran)

Mehdi Hosseini is a faculty member at the University of the Arts, Tehran. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1968 and MFA from Pratt Institute of New York in 1970. Hosseini is a permanent member of The Iranian Academy of Arts and an honorary member of Iran Painters Community. He has supervised many graduate students at the Ph.D level. He has shown nationally and internationally. Hosseini has received “Grade 1” degree of excellence in visual arts by the Academy of Arts in Iran.


Raha Raissnia (1968, Iran)

Raha Raissnia (b.1968 Tehran, Iran) creates complex works which combine painting, film and drawing. Much of her work is focused on exploring the intersection of these different mediums and how each informs the other in terms of their materiality and their respective processes of making. Raissnia lives and works in Brooklyn and is represented by Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York, Ab/Anbar Gallery in Tehran, Iran, Galeria Marta Cervera in Madrid, and Galerie Xippas in Paris. She received her BFA from the School of the Art institute of Chicago in 1992 and her MFA from Pratt Institute in 2002. In 2015, her work was included in All the World’s Futures, 56th Venice Biennale curated by Okwui Enwezor. Recent solo exhibitions were held at Ab/Anbar Gallery (Tehran), Miguel Abreu Gallery, Galeria Marta Cervera (Madrid), Galerie Xippas (Paris), and the Isfahan Museum of Contemporary Art (Isfahan, Iran).


Azadeh Gholizadeh (1982, Iran)

Azadeh Gholizadeh, is a Chicago-based artist and architect. Born in Tehran, Gholizadeh received her MA in Architecture and her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012. In her current practice she explores tensions and challenges of diaspora. Defining boundaries and blurring the lines that demarks her identity are the subjects that she reflects in her practice. Gholizadeh was a resident at the BOLT Residency Program at Chicago Artists Coalition and the Center Program at Hyde Park Art Center. She has shown in different venues such as Efrain Lopez, Soap Factory and Hyde Park Art Center.


Yasamin Ghanbari (1984, USA)

Yasi Ghanbari is an artist using an interdisciplinary practice living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BA from Oberlin College and her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Film, Video, and New Media. Ghanbari has shown her work nationally and internationally at venues such as the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Centre for Contemporary Arts (Glasgow), NURTUREart (Brooklyn), and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts (New York).


Nazafarin Lotfi (1984, Iran)

Nazafarin Lotfi is a visual artist based in Chicago. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and her BA from the University of Tehran in 2007. Solo exhibitions include: Poiesis at Fernwey Gallery, Chicago; White Light at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago; Love at Last Sight at Brand New Gallery, Milan; Circles at Tony Wight Gallery, Chicago. Recent group exhibitions: This here at Regards Gallery, Chicago; the Particular Poetics of Things at Goldfinch Gallery, Chicago; Resonant Objects, Logan Center Exhibitions, Pattern Recognition, Ana Cristea Gallery, New York. Lotfi was the Artist in Residence at the University of Chicago’s Arts and Public Life Program during 2015-16.


Elnaz Javani (1985, Iran)

Elnaz Javani (Iran) is an artist, researcher, and educator. Her studio work consists of sculpture, installation and sound works which take domestic materials as their point of departure into a larger discussion on trauma, memory and violence. Her work is devoted to the micropolitics of everyday life and the ways by which one can uncover the latent narratives within objects, events and collective experiences. Javani holds a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA from the Tehran Art University of Iran. Her work has been exhibited internationally in USA, Spain, UAE, Germany and Switzerland.


Maryam Hoseini (1988, Iran)

Maryam Hoseini (b. 1988 Tehran, Iran) is an artist currently living and working in New York. Her work explores the subtle relationships between bodies, architectural space, and politics of narrative. She holds an MFA from both the Milton Avery School of the Arts, Bard College and the School of Art Institute of Chicago.


Sophie Loloie (1993, USA)

Third culture child raised between Iran, Canada and the United States, Sophie Loloie graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), with a focus in Visual Communication Design and Photography/Video. She is working between the intersections of Image-Making and Design. Her work seeks to bring elegant simplicity to complexity to communicate an idea and experience. She is currently interested in exploring stories of femininity, her culture and language through typographic and visual methods.

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