January 17 – March 24, 2019
Koffler Gallery
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street
Curator: Mona Filip

Winter Opening Reception: Thursday, January 17, 2019 | 7–9 PM

Ghazaleh Avarzamani’s artistic practice encompasses a variety of artistic forms, including textiles, needlework, printmaking, ceramics and installation. Her first solo exhibition in Canada expands on a recent body of work that examines the relationship between original systems, experience-based knowledge, craft-making conventions, modern rationality and traditional beliefs.

Considering architectural environments as spaces of interactivity and play, Avarzamani’s game-based installations, print and textile works question the rules and methodologies used to educate and shape the players existential outlook. The sculptural installation Fortune Teller references the Origami paper game meant to provide chance answers to the participant’s questions, predicting their future. Devoid of any messages to read or even look at, the bare form is scaled up and replicated, investing the object with an antithetical role of having no fortune to predict. The absence of a specific message allows the viewer to see nothing and everything at the same time, enabling endless possibilities.

Game of Goose positions board games as master plans. Based on the oldest existing printed game sheet, the monumental mural piece comprises a 63-space track that maps medieval spiritualist values and superstitions, intending to instruct the player on matters of moral, social and religious import. Complicating the reading of the game, the entire map is embroidered onto a grid of 180 dark blue kisseh (Middle Eastern washcloth/loofa) and reproduced as a blueprint for the architecture of modern games. Used as support, the washcloths are quietly undermining the reality of the game itself. As objects meant to clean and remove, the blue loofas remind the viewer that no structures of power are eternally stable.

Further exploring these ideas in new works created for the exhibition, Avarzamani aims to expose the paradoxical realities behind the surface of society and its traditions, educational methodologies and cultural utopias.

Ghazaleh Avarzamani (b. 1980, Tehran) was trained in painting at Azad Art University in Tehran, followed by a Master of Fine Arts from Central Saint Martins, London, UK and has exhibited in venues internationally since graduating. She currently lives and works in Toronto. Selected solo exhibitions include Ab/anbar gallery in 2016, Asia House London in 2014, Etemad Gallery, Tehran and Light Gallery, London in 2013. Avarzamani has been the recipient of the Red Mansion Art Prize in 2013 and Ontario Art Council award in 2017; she curated ‘Jabberwocky’ exhibition at Ab Anbar in 2015.

Image: Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Game of Goose (detail), digital embroidery on loofa, 2016.