Exhibition, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich, Germany.
Abbas Akhavan shows old and new work at Museum Villa Stuck in Munich.
Abbas Akhavan shows mostly sculptures and installations that explore issues related to destruction and marginalisation as well as acts of preservation and regeneration. Drawing on older work and work specially made for the exhibition at Museum Villa Stuck, the Toronto-based artist has chosen to incorporate all the imperfections and drill holes from the previous show and the temperature control system has been turned off. Previously walled-up doors have been cut open and windows left ajar, allowing light and fresh air to permeate the space, thereby raising questions about the established boundaries of the museum and the limits of museological tasks: are the current methods of preservation still tenable and appropriate?
When visitors enter the studio built by Franz von Stuck in 1914/15, they are immediately confronted with a barrier that compels to a detour. The hedge, as used in the cityscape or in the suburb as a mark of private or public space, impedes access. Made of Thuja, the evergreen tree of life, that plant has its own history of colonialism: native to the eastern part of Canada, it was a commercial commodity between Great Britain and its colony of Canada; it was already used in the 16th century to characterise private property. The multi-layered use of the plant describes Akhavan's artistic gesture: he places objects known from his home environment into the exhibition space, thereby shifting the interior and exterior. The artist uses plants to combine historical strategies for the recognition of private property with the participation of the viewer who may feel like an intruder.
Akhavan describes his works as studies or variations, conceptually designed and indicative of a creative process that is not yet completed. The artist visualises these considerations in objects that refer to nature and the four elements - fire, water, earth or air - wherein plants or animals become elementary design entities.