Artist features

Nazgol Ansarinia

Born and raised in Tehran (1979), Nazgol Ansarinia examines the systems and networks that underpin her daily life. In her work, she dissects, interrogates and recasts everyday objects and events to tease out their relationship with contemporary Iranian society. Her aim is to expose the inner workings of a social system by picking apart its components and reassembling them in order to reveal the collective assumptions at its core as well as its inherent rules of engagement.

All images Courtesy of the Artist and Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Milan

Ansarinia’s work is characterised by an emphasis on research and analysis, legacy of her graphic design background, as well as by her continuous engagement with critical theory. Throughout her career, she has embraced multiple media (video, 3D printed models, sculpture, drawing) and has covered subjects as varied as security policy, control/discipline, memories associated with lived spaces, urban development in Tehran (with its demolition process), patterns of Persian carpets and mirror mosaics. Her works are situated on the border between the private realm and its wider socio-economic context. The artist’s concerns have shifted from an interest in the intimacy of domestic settings to an investigation of the built environment, she has maintained an engagement with physicality and materiality. All her works still carry traces of lived experiences catalysing the hope and fears of people living in an increasingly, albeit asymmetrically, globalised world.

“I am fascinated with the ordinary and its relationship to its larger context and hope to draw attention to the unobserved aspects of our daily lives so that they may not be taken for granted.” Nazgol Ansarinia, 2016

Nazgol Ansarinia grows along with a city, Teheran, that now counts almost 14 million residents and whose face is rapidly changing. The real estate market booms, houses make way for towering new apartment buildings and shopping malls, which results in a vicious paradoxical cycle of construction and deconstruction. Ansarinia says: “I have so many layers of memory from each corner of this city. Every part of this city is associated with memories from different stages in my life. I think that’s what makes this fast speed of construction so destructive in a way. It’s taking away our collective memory and individual memory with it. Neighbourhoods are changing so fast that they are unrecognizable. You feel lost when you can’t relate to a space.” The glazed ceramic sculpture Attempts at building a wall (2018) is an attempt to capture the moment in between demolition and creation, and it illustrates the notion that for each new building there is an equal amount of material that is being discarded.

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Tique | publication on contemporary art #3: Six Questions