Natascha Sadr Haghighian

In a radical departure from her usual practice of site-specific projects, Natascha Sadr Haghighian's first solo exhibition in London is a selection of works from the last fifteen years. By placing the works alongside each other for the first time, Sadr Haghighian draws out new perspectives and connects the various debates and questions raised by them over the years. Her richly detailed, collaborative investigations utilise a wide variety of media, such as video, slide projection, sound, websites, photography and actions to explore issues as diverse as the control and manipulation of the world's scarce resources; consumerism and corporatism; identity, power and class; and the structures and rituals of the professional art world.

Her research-based projects constantly find ways to emancipate themselves from their prescribed - often site-specific - formats. By exploring different ways to approach an issue and allowing for divergent ideas, her works attempt to uncover and reclaim subjugated or alternative knowledge and devise a basis to induce political agency. Through sound, video, installation, online interventions, interviews or writing, Haghighian's work questions and seeks to move beyond the dominating representational formats and the visual discourse inherited from the Enlightenment.

At Artissima and Armory art fairs, her wall installation, I can’t work like this (2007), took the form of a text-based piece outlined in nails hammered into the wall, from which emerges an ironic comment on the lack of creative freedom within a commercial art context. Her contribution to Manifesta 4 – Present but not yet active (2002) – took the shape of a dialogue between Haghighian and the biennale curators at Frankfurt Zoo, in which they discussed the issues of authenticity and visibility created by display architectures. The conversation was filmed from three different perspectives and edited into a single video that was given to the curators as documentation of the shared experience.

Haghighian’s critique of institutionalised systems of production – which in the art world are illustrated by the competitive and totalising nature of CVs and biographies – is reflected in the ongoing online platform www.bioswop.net. The site was released in 2004 for art professionals to borrow, exchange and compile biographies.

‘The impossibility of escaping the rules of representation creates the desire to defrock them, slander, offend, destabilize them, and make them lose their authority and power. I guess you could see that as my main focus. At the same time I try to eat, drink, sleep, meet and collaborate with other people. I guess a lot of the impulses come from that as well.’ (Natascha Sadr Haghighian interviewed by Solvej Helweg Ovesen)
Natascha Sadr Haghighian


Event Title: Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Postcode: Carroll / Fletcher, 56 - 57 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8EQ
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