January 17 – March 17, 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, embroidery, sculpture and installation. Driven by research on manifestations of global powers, their impact on and manipulation of history, geography and knowledge, her work explores the ways in which diverse contexts and systems transform ideas and forms, generating new meaning.

Never Never Land, Avarzamani’s first solo exhibition in Canada, expands on a recent body of work that examines the relationship between experience-based knowledge, psychological factors, memory construction, modern rationality and traditional beliefs. Considering a range of spaces and devices for interactivity, self-development and play, her game-based installations, drawings, sculptures and fibre works question the rules and methodologies used to educate and shape the players’ existential outlook.

Central to the exhibition, Game of Goose (2016) 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.

The sculptural installation Fortune Teller (2016) 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.

With new works that further explore these ideas alongside notions of learning and forgetting, growth and erasure, accomplishment and failure, Avarzamani aims to expose the paradoxical realities behind the surface of society and its traditions, educational methodologies, individual aspirations 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. 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. She currently lives and works in Toronto, and is represented by Ab-Anbar Gallery in Tehran.

Image: Ghazaleh Avarzamani, Fortuneteller (installation detail), moulded USG hydrocal, 2016.


Koffler Gallery Regular Hours: Wednesday to Friday, 12 PM – 6 PM | Saturday & Sunday, 11 AM – 5 PM | Closed Mondays, Tuesdays & statutory holidays | Admission is FREE. Every Saturday 2 PM FREE Exhibition Tour (during regular exhibition hours).