Nairy Baghramian goes beyond language at the Aspen Art Museum


Nairy Baghramian goes beyond language at the Aspen Art Museum

In a captivating solo exhibition, Iranian-German artist Nairy Baghramian is pushing the boundaries of art at the Aspen Art Museum.

Titled “Jupon de Corps,” this thought-provoking display explores a wide range of themes, including the human body, public versus private spaces, and the complexity of self-expression through artistic creations.

Anne Boyer’s book, “Garments Against Women,” serves as an inspiration for Baghramian’s work.

Boyer discusses how our essential needs manifest themselves through various means such as clothing, possessions, literature, and dreams.

In essence, existence becomes an act of adorning ourselves with these expressions, challenging conventional categories and themes.

However, Baghramian’s art diverges from conventional norms.

Her sculptures and installations do not readily reveal their meaning, they stand as enigmatic combinations of everyday objects and abstract forms.

Echoing the feminist art movement of the 1960s and 70s, artists like Eva Hesse and Lynda Benglis, her creations embody a visceral, yet commonplace, quality.

Baghramian’s artworks employ a unique vocabulary, employing materials such as wax, resin, and cast aluminum.

Each piece seems to breathe with life, demanding the viewer’s attention through unconventional spatial interventions.

In a recent conversation with Serpentine Galleries’ artistic director Hans Ulrich Obrist and AAM director Nicola Lees, Baghramian emphasized her commitment to allowing the materials themselves to dictate her artistic process.

She noted the complexity of art and the challenges it presents in interviews where definitions and explanations fall short.

Born in Iran in 1971, Baghramian fled to Berlin with her family in 1984 during the Islamic Revolution.

Her multilingual background and keen awareness of the limitations of language underscore the post-structuralist nature of her work, despite the serene and beautiful qualities seen in “Jupon de Corps.”

One standout piece, “B 75, BH, Mod. NB, Ref. CO, MM (2012),” references Claes Oldenburg’s “Ghost Wardrobe (for M. M.) (1967).” Concrete hangers support rubber spirals that comically unravel into a bright bra, eliciting both poignancy and humor.

Throughout the exhibition, viewers encounter large styrofoam slabs and translucent shields of wax, evoking both strength and fragility and inviting nuanced interpretations.

The human body remains a central theme in Baghramian’s work. Whether it’s an industrial-scale spinal column segmenting the gallery floor (“French Curve,” 2014) or a vivisected dog bone (“Treat,” 2016), humor and sadness intertwine, creating an experience that challenges viewers’ perceptions.

Baghramian’s work defies easy categorization and invites viewers to engage with complexity.

Her decades-long career, marked by prestigious accolades and commissions, demonstrates a commitment to artistic refusal, shunning simple explanations in favor of something deeper and more profound.

Jupon de Corps not only showcases Baghramian’s artistry but also presents a conceptual challenge in the luxurious surroundings of Aspen.

A concurrent exhibition by emerging artist Florian Krewer adds further contrast and depth to this thought-provoking display.

In the words of AAM’s curator-at-large, Stella Bottai, “A petticoat is a very gentle type of garment, but it still is a boundary.

 Through “Jupon de Corps,” Nairy Baghramian invites us to explore the boundaries of art, identity, and meaning, presenting a refreshing and captivating experience for art enthusiasts.

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