Abbas Akhavan: variations on a landscape

The Power Plant
Toronto, Canada
Until 30 December 2018

Curated by Carolin Köchling and assistant curator Nabila Abdel Nabi


Abbas’ installation, variations on a landscape, uses a round fountain to alter the decentralized space of the gallery’s high and narrow Clerestory. Working against the rigid symmetry of the space, recalling the grid so prevalent in all North American cities, the installation aims to give way to a circular point for gathering, one that reflects on the role of an art institution, one that might offer a communal space for contemplation.

The artist’s intervention alters the environment of the institution, engages with the architecture of the building while highlighting some of the natural and urban surroundings. The exhibition takes into consideration elements outside the white cube, allowing the visitor’s experience in the space to be shaped by the seasons, the time of day and the weather conditions. Abbas has invited six writers and artists to contribute a text to the installation. Each text will be introduced to the physical space on a monthly basis.

Abbas’ practice ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. The domestic sphere, as a forked space between hospitality and hostility, has been an ongoing area of research in his practice. More recent works have shifted focus, wandering onto spaces and species just outside the home – the garden, the backyard, and other domesticated landscapes.


Abbas Akhavan earned a BFA from Concordia University (2004) and an MFA from the University of British Columbia (2006). Recent solo exhibitions include Recently, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2018); Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (2017); Villa Stuck, Munich (2017); Mercer Union, Toronto, (2015); The Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2012); and Beacon, The Darling Foundry, Montreal (2012). Recent group exhibitions include But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise, Galleria d’Arte Moderna Milano, Milan, Italy (2018); Prospect 4, New Orleans (2017); SALT Galata, Istanbul (2017); Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016); Wellcome Collection, London (2016); Beirut Art Centre (2015); and Gwangju Biennale (2014). Recent residencies include Atelier Calder in Saché, France (2017), Fogo Island Arts, Canada (2013/2016), Flora: ars+natura, Bogota (2015), and Western Front Artist Run Centre, Vancouver (2013). Abbas is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014), the Sobey Art Award (2015), and the Fellbach Triennial Award (2016).


Abbas Akhavan, Installation view, The Power Plant, 2018