Artist talk: Abbas Akhavan

This artist talk presents Canadian artist Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977 in Tehran), who is currently doing a major solo exhibition at Copenhagen Contemporary and Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, titled “Curtain Call”. 

The exhibition is staged as two installations: “Cast for a folly” (2019, at NCG) recreates a documentary photograph of the looted National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq, following the invasion of Iraq in 2003. “Variations of a folly” (2019, at CC) references the colonnade that once led up to the triumphal arch in Palmyra, present-day Syria, which was destroyed during the Islamic State’s occupation of Palmyra in 2015. Now occupying a different time and space, the re-staging of the looted museum and the triumphal arch in Palmyra asks: Who inherits the ruins of war? The work of Akhavan ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The direction of his research has been deeply influenced by the specificity of the sites where he works: the architectures that house them, the economies that surround them, and the people that frequent them.

In this artist talk, he will present his work with “Curtain Call” and the thought and processes leading to the exhibition. He will be in dialogue with Terne Thorsen, who is doing a PhD project called "Breaking and Creating – The Contemporary Iconoclasm of Islamic State".