Six questions for
Anahita Bagheri

Tique asks six questions to an artist about their work and inspiration.
This week: Anahita Bagheri.

Artist Anahita Bagheri
Lives in New York City

How do you describe your own art practice?

My practice is very interdisciplinary. I work with solid and malleable materials to share experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Papier-mâché, sound, video, and words find their way into my art through sculpture, artist book, and multimedia installation.

Which question or theme is central in your work?

There is a rich artistic tradition in Persian art consisting of flowers that are connected to each other by curving stems. These motifs are called Eslimi and Khataei. They were widely used in Persian miniature painting, architecture, tiles, crafts, and fabric. I make sculptures looking at the historic Eslimi and Khataei motifs from a femme viewpoint. My sculptures evoke a range of femme bodily forms with their sensual curves and the skin-like character of my papier-mâché. I reverse the two-dimensional traditions of these historic patterns into a three-dimensional space. Through the bodies I make, I speak of personal and collective experiences and quests.

What was your first experience with art?

While growing up I was really into the paintings and tiles of the historic buildings I would see while sightseeing in different places in Iran. Seeing turquoise tiles with beautiful paintings on the walls and dorms of mosques in the neighborhood I was living in was one of my first experiences with art.

What is your greatest source of inspiration?

Persian art, architecture, and literature are inspiring to me. Apart from the historical painting traditions I work with such as Eslimi, Khataei, and flower and bird motifs, I am interested in femme bodies, the different spaces they occupy simultaneously, and their representation in literature in relation to the current time.

What do you need in order to create your work?

I make large-scale sculptures and I paint on them. With painting and sculpting, having a space where I can get messy is a must. While I’m creating my work, I often think about the ways viewers would interact with my work and how they situate themselves within or around it. So, the space to share my work with the audience is also important to me.

What work or artist has most recently surprised you?

Going Dark at Gugenheim was a great exhibition to see. More recently, it was nice to see Elaine Cameron Weir’s exhibition at Lisson Gallery in New York City.

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