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Kamrooz Aram

Kamrooz Aram, An Afghan Dream, 2017

Wool carpet, ceramic vase painted with oil,

shisha (various materials including brass),

lapis lazuli, ceramic vase, Variable dimensions

Kamrooz Aram utilizes painting, sculpture, and photography to examine the intersections between ornamental non-Western art that has often been deemed “minor” throughout Western art history, and Modernism with its great phobia of the ornamental. He believes in the transformative power of form, function, material, and pattern as tools that operate beyond western art history books. His painterly works transcend the specter of the decorative by blending ornamental motifs with geometric patterns common in vernacular modern architecture. At once political and ornamental, the works are alive and alert, aware that one vibrant art history should not reduce another history to a whisper.

Aram’s paintings begin with a simple grid, on which he builds a pattern derived from Persian carpet designs. This pattern is then wiped away with rags and solvent, staining the canvas and leaving the ghost of pattern and grid. He then excavates the painting, using the traces of previous layer as a map, rebuilding from the ruins of his own mark.

Exhibition furniture is often asked to perform the task of being neither seen nor heard. We as museum visitors want our paintings, our sculptures, our photographs at the front and center of attention, with minimal distractions from their brutish supports. Museums often display objects in an environment that purports to be neutral. With his sculptural works, Aram is interested in challenging this false neutrality. With exquisitely constructed pedestals and vitrines, Aram challenges the viewer to consider space as an architectural whole. There is no hierarchy between the objects on display and the mechanisms of display such as pedestals. Aram might display an antique Persian carpet along with genuine antiquities, replica ceramics found in a museum gift shop, and objects the artist has made himself, in order to challenge the way that we assign value to such objects.

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