The VCS Gallery at the School of Visual Arts is pleased to present the premiere of a new installation work by the Iranian, New York-based artist Shahrzad Changalvaei. The work is comprised of a dense array of randomly hung sculptural elements—some more figurative, some more abstract—made from paper, paint, clay and gold dust, accompanied by a video that narrates a love story. The whole of the work investigates the emotional aspect of language.

Changalvaei is best known for works concerning Persian typography, which express a deep connection to the language. In her installations and videos, she addresses the barriers implicit within the structures of language, deconstructing these structures as an act of rebellion in order to imagine new ways to communicate.

Changalvaei has an uncanny feel for the look of the ordinary—in people, places, and objects. By scanning the mundane residues of words and sounds for the telling particulars of aggregated detail, and with a skeptical curiosity towards ultimate truthfulness, she seeks without irony to transcend the condition of mere information. The installation freely absorbs the multitude of visual assumptions, associations, and memories that the viewer brings to it, and demands of the viewer an emotional involvement that goes beyond the analytical. Love and repulsion cohabitate in this work, and her primary vehicle is a sensuality in which the temporal and the immaterial are treated as one emotional state.

Mohammad Golabi is a second-year curatorial fellow in the MA Curatorial Practice program at SVA.

Visual & Critical Studies