Kooshk Residency in collaboration with Mohsen Gallery and in partnership with Austrian Cultural Forum presents:

“QUARANTARIUM: Resilience in the Time of COVID 19”
A group online exhibition
Artists: Sasan Abri, Peter Garmusch and Anita Steinwidder
Curator: Nirvana Parvizi
Dec 1 to 31, 2020

Knowing no borders and boundaries, pandemics create new situations and common concerns for all people. The “Quarantarium” project revolves around the works of three artists living in different geographic, experiential circumstances. The creative processes of these artists were influenced by the pandemic and their lifestyles and approaches were impacted while they were making their artworks.

This group exhibition is the outcome of Kooshk Residency’s artist exchange program is held without the physical presence of the artists. Sasan Abri from Iran-Tehran, and Peter Garmusch and Anita Steinwidder from Austria-Vienna, are the artists of the exhibition, which is held with the support of and in partnership with the Austrian Cultural Forum from December 1 through December 31, 2020, on the virtual walls of Tehran’s Mohsen Gallery.

“Quarantarium” is a coined word, consisting of “quarantine” and “aquarium”: enclosed by a glass wall, aquatic animals in an aquarium perceive the world around them through seemingly a transparent membrane, but are unable to live outside the enclosure. This is a simple metaphor for our contemporary lives: our only connection to the outside world is through the screens of our smartphone or computer, only intensified by the quarantine conditions. The artistic processes of these series of works are not a mere carbon copies or formal translations of the outside world, but the invisible bridge between ideas and their unseen natures and roots. The series of artworks exhibited in the “Quarantarium” project is the result of a consistent comprehension of the artists’ past and inner worlds, whose wounds had not been opened before the pandemic.

Sasan Abri is the photographer of urban spaces, cityscapes, and transient moments of life. In order to execute his unique semi-impressionistic techniques in his “Nest” series, he has chosen a harsh cross-hatching approach to conveying the subject matters, shifting the position of the background and the foreground. The alternation of the relationship between the subject and the object is the result of the artist’s contemplations in quarantine as he was experiencing his self-imposed solitude for several months.

Peter Garmusch is an artist who loves exploring new territories and making journeys with no sense of belonging to his hometown: he travels to near and faraway places to incorporate his random observations into his artworks, trying to be unbiased by conventional assumptions as best as he can. By upsetting the origin-destination equation and confining everything to the starting point, the pandemic has deprived Garmusch of his ability to travel, transforming the physical, geographic routes into imaginary, subjective paths in the space of his studio and led him to create his “Studio Vienna” Series.

Anita Steinwidder’s earlier works revolved around re-defining attires and making cloth collages in a conceptual fashion. Here in her “Reconstruction: Father and Mother” series, she has made a trip down memory lane to revisit her estranged childhood. In order to create new forms, the artist has assembled the shoes that she has kept from the time she had spent with his grandparents, using a technique that is different from those of cobblers. The works represented here are following dimensional forms on the outside; on the inside, however, they are inspired by a pastoral childhood.

These works can hardly be classified under aesthetic, social, and political categories; they are, rather, studies of the artists’ own individual, biological concerns that have emerged during the quarantine era. These bodies of works are woven with hope, sorrow, self-awareness, and growth, while their substance is shaped by individuality.

Please visit the exhibition at Mohsen Gallery website.