Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art: Artist Talk by Abbas Akhavan, May 25

Stages Speaker Series | Artist Talk by Abbas Akhavan

Thursday, May 25th| 7pm

Off-site location: former Globe Cinema, 3rd floor,

Portage Place Shopping Centre, 393 Portage Ave, Winnipeg

Plug In ICA is pleased to present an artist talk by Abbas Akhavan, who is the 6th speaker as part of our 2017 Stages Speaker Series. Akhavan is well recognized and celebrated for his constant and sharp interpretations of ethno-political power dynamics. Essential to Akhavan's work is examining how racism and other forms of discrimination move through politics, military symbols and civic spaces. For his talk on Thursday, May 25th, Akhavan will present an overview of his working process and artistic concerns.

Akhavan's art installations are often minimal in their appearance, nearly invisible at times. He frequently titles his artwork as 'studies': Study for a Curtain, Study for a Monument, Study for a Glasshouse and so on -- the word 'study' indicating part of a process of making that is not solidified into something final. Akhavan's work is often in movement, transforming over time. He regularly uses plants, which grow or decay or are continuously re-arranged. In Variations on Untitled Garden, a temporary public artwork in Quebec City, Akhavan replanted young cedar trees in various configurations over a few weeks period until the trees formed a solid hedge that crossed and blocked a commonly used a pathway.

Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012), The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014), the Sobey Art Award (2015), and the Fellbach Triennial Award (2016). His work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally including solo exhibitions at Mercer Union, Toronto; Delfina Foundation, London, England; Bergen Museum, Norway; and Galerie Mana, Istanbul, Turkey. He has upcoming exhibitions at Protocinema, Istanbul/New York and Parisian Laundry, Montréal. His work has been featured in a number of publications including C Magazine, Frieze and Canadian Art. He is represented by The Third Line (Dubai, UAE).

This artist talk with Abbas Akhavan is part of Stages Speaker Series, featuring artists from Canada and the world. The series is offered in anticipation of Stages: Drawing the Curtain, a constellation of temporary public artworks to be launched in August 2017. This large-scale public art project asks artists to locate a site within the city of Winnipeg from which to contemplate the stage - its function as a platform; its meaning as a point of attention; and its physical design. Directed by their individual interests and material preferences, the artists will build sculptural 'stages' ranging in shape and form, connected as platforms for audiences to occupy, physically engage with and contemplate.

In keeping with the drive of Stages to bring art beyond our walls, all talks for Stages Speaker Series will be held at an off-site location. This presentation will be held at the former Globe Cinema, 3rd floor, Portage Place Shopping Centre, 393 Portage Ave, Winnipeg.

*Artists for Stages: Drawing the Curtain include: Abbas Akhavan (Toronto), Pablo Bronstein (London, UK), Toril Johannessen (Tromsø, Norway), Kara Hamilton (Toronto), Federico Herrero (San José, Costa Rica), Divya Mehra (Winnipeg), Krista Belle Stewart (Vancouver) and Ron Tran (Vancouver).

**Previous talks from Stages Speaker Series are now online at

Stages Speaker Series and Stages: Drawing the Curtain are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through its New Chapter Program.

Our community partners include Winnipeg Tourism, Alliance Française Manitoba, Urbanink, Cityplace Mall (Triovest), Portage Place Shopping Centre and Fillip, CKUW, Alt Hotel, and Alpha Masonry.