September is pleased to present Laleh Khorramian: Unearth, a solo exhibition of new work spanning two locations in Hudson, NY: SEPTEMBER, 449 Warren Street, and Elizabeth Moore Fine Art, 105 Warren Street. A commissioned essay by Media Farzin accompanies the exhibition. This is Khorramian’s first solo show with SEPTEMBER, and marks her representation with the gallery.
Khorramian is an Iranian-American artist, born in Tehran, and raised in Orlando, FL, the epicenter of America’s synthetic world of storytelling. Her work merges painting, printmaking, collage, animation, textiles, drawing, and installation to tell the story of an alternate universe that has been conjured and revealed via the course of Khorramian’s own exhibition history. Her current revelation of the fictional and futuristic civilization of Golis (a microbic landing point in the cosmos) exists in two locations. Khorramian invites the viewer to physically navigate the respective sensorial installations, to travel on foot from one location to the other, and to exercise memory to inhabit the space in between.
At September, Khorramian has built a large-scale skeleton of a structure that once functioned as a portal for the Rola, a mysterious, migratory people who left the Planet of Golis millennia ago to escape persecution on their own planet. Some view the Rola as metaphorical myth; others believe them to be real. Ceremonial wardrobes that Khorramian tailored and embossed, hang as majestic shells of figures. A room large enough for a single figure to inhabit offers a space of solitude and psychic transportation through altered angles, diffused, psychedelic light, and an ambient recording of the story of Rola myth. Altering the walls with vertical washes of color, Khorramian has painted a dark, immersive backdrop for her portal and figures. Punctuating the space are monotypes resembling planetary forms and large-scale collages - flat constructions of prints that she cut and assembled to evoke decayed futuristic structures. On closer inspection, the structures themselves bear universes within their own totemic forms. Khorramian’s video, Correspondence, a poetic, typed communication between universes interstices analog sonar noise into the space. West-facing window pieces greet the viewer as they enter the gallery. Cut-out messages and punched-out holes resemble analog ticker-tape. With gel-filtered light shafting through the collaged scrolls, these entryway pieces resemble stained glass, casting an aura of solemnity into the viewers transitional experience from the outside world to Khorramian’s alternate, inner world.
At Elizabeth Moore Fine Art, the viewer enters into a domestic setting thickly installed with a forest of kimonos suspended at human height: a crowd of ghost figures gently swaying as passing visitors shift the air in the room. In her essay, Farzin writes, “The textiles’ printed and painted designs are distinctly space-age, resembling planetary constellations, secret codes, or blueprints for mechanical assemblages.” In Khorramian’s universe, the kimonos are ceremonial uniforms worn by the inhabitants of the Rola people that reflect their role in society. Are the uniforms bearing messages to be received in the future, potentially now? On the wall to the left and up the stairwell are two densely collaged kimono forms that hang flat to like pressed reliquaries. Down the hall, a grid of drawings penned in colorful ink fill the eye. Are these calligraphic landscapes transmissions of the imagination, or are they evocations of unnamed places that may have existed?
Khorramian is inviting us to enter her imaginative, alternate universe, to sort through the artifacts and experience the unknown. Taking the exhibition as a whole, we find orchestrated fragmentation: traces, remnants and afterimages, successive sheets of overlay that coalesce into a world as strange as it is eerily familiar. Khorramian is unearthing our subconscious, journeying us through a realm that is, perhaps generously, not of this earth.
Born in Tehran, Iran, Laleh Khorramian lives and works in upstate New York. She studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, received her undergraduate degree at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and her MFA at Columbia University. She has exhibited internationally in a wide variety of media, including solo shows in New York, Vienna, and Dubai, and group shows at the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Art Basel Statements, MASS MoCA, and Ballroom Marfa. Her work has been selected for the 2010 SITE Santa Fe Biennial, the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and the 2005 edition of MoMA PS1’s Greater New York Quinquennial.
Image: Natives (detail), 2019, ink on polypropylene, 26 x 42 inches
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