'I am not obsessed with the beauty of instability. I am just taking it as something that is there.' –Nairy Baghramian.
Traditional Western sculpture dates back to the ancient Greek period and beyond, with the use of materials such as stone, metal, ceramics and wood continuing to this day, and the original forms evolving over time. But what is sculpture? During the Renaissance, Michelangelo's iconic 'David' was seen as a representation of the ideal proportion of human body, with a concentrated and confident gesture that is revealed in a masterful sculpture. In modernism, Constantin Brancusi blurred the line between figuration and abstraction with 'A Muse', which simplifies the female form and emphasises pure lines, redefining the language of sculpture of the past. For her works exhibited at the Winsing Art Place, Nairy Baghramian, an artist of Iranian descent, her sculptures in the contemporary art world, are not only about the work itself, but the conditions of their surroundings that constitute an essential factor in their appearance, and the varied shapes of the pieces interact with each other to produce a relationship that is both contradictory and balanced.
Baghramian's creations span photography, painting and installation, with sculpture being the primary form of representation, and intertwine with other cross-disciplinary themes. Working on a variety of mediums, her pieces often feature metallic structures that are supporting each other and building on each other, as well as reflections of body postures and internal structures. 'Instability' is a recurring theme in Baghramian's sculptures, with many seemingly thin and slender bracing structures that are close to collapsing, overhanging, tilting and yet dominating the objects in the exhibition space. 'Maintainers', a multi-media composition, is presented in an interdependent manner in the exhibition room, with its distinctive raw aluminium casts, coloured wax forms and lacquer painted braces propping up and balancing each other in an interdependent relationship, stabilised by the intervention of external forces, and with a wax surface reminiscent of the body. Another piece on show is 'Misfits F', a recent creation inspired by the assembly toys designed for children. The seemingly perfect fit of the structure actually fails to meet the viewer's expectations, resulting in feelings of frustration and disappointment, creating a psychological imbalance; at the same time, the eccentric expression of the girl's portrait alludes to the refusal to play by the rules and the unpredictability.
Nairy Baghramian was born in Isfahan, Iran, in 1971 and is a member of the Armenian minority. In 1984, she moved with her family to Berlin, Germany, due to political and social circumstances. Her pieces have been on show at major art institutions such as the Nasher Sculpture Centre, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, The Contemporary Art Museum of Luxembourg, Walker Art Center, Art Institute of Chicago, Serpentine Galleries, London, and have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, Biennale de Lyon, Documenta Kassel, Berlin Biennale, Skulptur Projekte Münster, and are also in the collections housed by several internationally renowned institutions. In 2022, the artist won the Nasher Prize for Sculpture and was shortlisted for the Hugo Boss Prize and honoured with the Zurich Art Prize.
Press release courtesy Winsing Art Place.