The work of Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Tehran, Iran; lives/works: Montreal) 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. The domestic sphere, which he proposes as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of study in his practice. More recent works have wandered into spaces and species just outside the home: the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.
Residencies include Fogo Island Arts, Fogo Island, (Canada); Walk&Talk, São Miguel, (Portugal), The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, (USA), Atelier Calder (France); Foundation Marcelino Botin with Mona Hatoum (Spain); Le Printemps de Septembre (France); Trinity Square Video, Western Front, and Fogo Islands (Canada); The Watermill Center (USA); and The Delfina Foundation (Dubai, UAE & London, UK).
Solo exhibitions include;study for a garden, Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland, UK (2022); curtain call, variations on a folly, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (2021); script for an island, Fogo Island Arts, Fogo Island, Canada (2019); cast for a folly, The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco, USA, (2019); Folly, Vie d’ange, Montreal, Canada (2018); variations on a landscape, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2018); Recently, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2018); variations on a garden, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2017); Abbas Akhavan, Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (2017); variations on a garden, David Roberts Art Foundation, London, UK (2017); Study for a Curtain, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2015); variations on a garden, Mercer Union, Toronto, Canada (2013); Study for a Garden, Delfina Foundation, London (2012).
His work has been featured in selected group exhibitions including: Perceptible Rhythms/Alternative Temporalities, MEI Art Gallery, Middle East Institute, Washington DC, USA (2022);Where We Go It Shall Be, Walk & Talk, Sao Miguel, Portugal (2021); Inventing Nature: Pflanzen in der Kunst, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany (2021); Once Upon a Time Inconceivable, Protocinema, Istanbul, Turkey (2021); Sensing Nature, Momenta Biennale at Phi Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2021); A Few in Many Places, Protocinema, Montreal, Canada (2020); There Is Fiction In The Space Between, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2020); Toronto Biennial of Art, Toronto, Canada (2019); Second Hand, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE (2019); Desertado. Algo que aconteceu pode acontecer novamente, Galeria Municipal do Porto, Porto, Portugal (2019); I Will See It, When I Believe It, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2019); But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Milano, Milan, Italy (2018); A Poethical Wager, MOCA Cleveland (2017); Disappearing Act, Thames Art Gallery, Toronto Canada (2017); The Uses of Art, SALT Galata, Istanbul, Turkey (2017); Making Nature: How we see animals, Wellcome Collection, London, UK (2016); But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA (2016); Common Grounds, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany (2015); Accented, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, UAE (2015); The politics of food, Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2014); Tactics for Here & Now, Bucharest Biennale, Romania (2012); Tools for Conviviality, Power Plant, Toronto (2012); Beacon, Darling Foundry, Montreal (2012); Seeing is Believing, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2011).
Abbas is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012); Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014); Sobey Art Award (2015); Fellbach Triennial Award (2016) and the Toronto Arts Council Mid-Career Grant (2017). His work has been featured in the Liverpool Biennial (2018); New Orleans Triennial (2017); Sharjah Biennial (2017); Gwangju Biennial (2014); Montreal Biennial (2014); Athens Biennial (2013); and in Performa, New York (2011).
His works can be found in private and public collections around the world, including The Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York; the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada; UBS Art Collection; The Farook Collection, Dubai, UAE; and Alma Mater Society: University of British Columbia, Canada.
- curtain call, variations on a folly, 2021
- In 1386, the tribunal of Falaise..., 2018
- Corner Piece, 2017
- If the First Metaphor Was Animal, 2017
- Untitled (A), 2017
- Study for a Garden, 2016
- Study for a Monument, 2013–16
- Study for a Garden, 2012
- Ivy, 2012
- Dirt/Table, 2012
- Well, 2011
- Curtains, 2011
- Study for a Map, 2010
THERE IS FICTION IN THE SPACE BETWEEN23 Mar - 30 Jul 2020The Third Line is pleased to present There Is Fiction In The Space Between , a group exhibition celebrating the gallery’s fifteenth anniversary. This exhibition draws on the breadth of...Read more
I WILL SEE IT, WHEN I BELIEVE IT15 May - 27 Jul 2019The Third Line is pleased to present its summer exhibition I Will See It, When I Believe It, with works by Abbas Akhavan, Farhad Moshiri, Hayv Kahraman, Laleh Khorramian, Rana...Read more
RECENTLYAbbas Akhavan 19 Mar - 5 May 2018The Third Line is pleased to announce recently—Abbas Akhavan’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. A collection of recent works, the exhibition lies somewhere between an open studio, an index,...Read more
STUDY FOR A CURTAINAbbas Akhavan 16 Mar - 15 Apr 2015Study for a Curtain is a continuation of Abbas Akhavan's ongoing exploration of gardens and domesticated landscapes. Abbas Akhavan’s practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and...Read more
Nearly 20 years after the invasion of Iraq, an artist revisits the looting of the national museum in BaghdadHadani Ditmars, The Art Newspaper, June 16, 2022
Abbas Akhavan review – a poetic monument to follyLaura Cumming, The Guardian, August 22, 2021
Abbas Akhavan: Curtain Call, Variations on a FollyEddy Frankel, Time Out, August 17, 2021
Abbas AkhavanKegan McFadden, Canadian Art, July 23, 2019
Abbas Akhavan's installation featured in Toronto galleryDaily Sabah, June 24, 2018
Searching for SignificanceAnna Seaman, Folio by Alserkal Avenue, March 18, 2018
Making waves towards post-art: Act I of Sharjah Biennial 13Mohammad Salemy, Ocula Magazine, April 15, 2017
But a Storm is Blowing in from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North AfricaCaroline Roux, The Telegraph, August 13, 2016
Sand Storms and Couscous CastlesDavid D'Arcy, Observer, April 28, 2016
Abbas Akhavan: Up, Down and In-BetweenJoni Murphy, Canadian Art, May 10, 2012
Abbas Akhavan: Home FrontsHadani Ditmars, Canadian Art, March 29, 2012