18 - 21 June 2015 
Statements – Booth N8

The Third Line is very pleased to announce our participation at Art Basel’s Statements sector with Study for a Monument, a solo presentation by Abbas Akhavan. Abbas’ floorbased installation of bronze-cast plants is a continuation of recent works that archive and memorialize native and endemic flora in compromised ecologies.


Building upon previous research, Study for a Monument is a new iteration of bronze cast reproductions of flora native to the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. This area, modern-day Iraq, has suffered immensely due to social, political and ecological turmoil over the decades, where warring establishments have contributed to irreparable damage to the topography.


Bronze, traditionally used for weaponry and later as a hardwearing material for monuments, is highlighted here by Abbas as a duplicitous material – one that appears permanent but in fact lacks loyalty as it shape shifts in times of political transition – melted and reformed from one political figure to another. In Study for a Monument, the vertical figure has been replaced by anatomically correct fragmented flora laid out horizontally on white cotton sheets.


By archiving the locale-specific plants and flowers, the artist follows the traditional 19th century practice of scientific taxonomic record-keeping for the colonial-held lands. However, Abbas presents a delicate juxtaposition in the work’s production and presentation – while the material captures the carefully researched botanical species in bronze, the presentation takes them apart in pieces, as if on a dissection tray or confiscated goods, they are shown on the floor – hoping to remodel formal structures of authority and knowledge.


In additional fair programming, Hassan Hajjaj’s new film, Karima: A Day in the Life of a Henna Girl, will be shown as part of the Art Basel Film sector.