x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

The Third Line gallery's Laleh Khorramian chosen for Art Basel

Laleh Khorramian, who is represented by Dubai¿s The Third Line, has been chosen to present her project at this year¿s Art Basel. It is a first for the Al Quoz gallery and here Anna Seaman reports

Works by Laleh Khorramian, from left, Lt. Aurelio Swimm, Last Image as Space Farmer and Communication Shrine. Courtesy Laleh Khorramian / The Third Line
Works by Laleh Khorramian, from left, Lt. Aurelio Swimm, Last Image as Space Farmer and Communication Shrine. Courtesy Laleh Khorramian / The Third Line

Laleh Khorramian, who is represented by Dubai's The Third Line, will present her project at Art Basel. It's the gallery's maiden appearance at the fair. Anna Seaman reports

An Iranian artist who is represented by The Third Line gallery in Dubai has been selected to join the Statements sector at Art Basel. Laleh Khorramian, who lives and works in New York, will join 25 other artists in the sector at the world's most prestigious art fair that begins on Thursday.

Saira Ansari, the media coordinator at The Third Line, says the gallery team is extremely pleased with the news. "Art Basel is one of the most important fairs in the world and it really is an honour to be selected," she says. "Laleh is a fascinating person who has diverse interests and skills, with a dynamic art practice and we feel that she has the right energy and vibe to be included in this section."

This is the first time The Third Line will participate in the fair that saw galleries from Dubai for the first time last year when Green Art Gallery and Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde also had artists in the Statements sector.

Every year, Art Basel's Statements presents new solo projects by young and emerging artists and at the end of the four-day fair, two are awarded the Bâloise Art Prize.

Khorramian's project features mixed-media paintings and a video installation of fragments of a science fiction film titled M-GOLIS and set in 2202. In the film, the artist has created a chemically polluted planet of the same name that is populated only by prisoners whose sentence is to reside there and reverse the pollution. Viewers are invited to follow the journey of the inmate Lieutenant Aurelio Swimm, whose consciousness has been altered by extreme isolation and exposure to a toxic and increasingly hallucinogenic environment.

The fact that the film is not complete is an essential part of the interpretation.

"I'm not into the apocalyptic story and this is definitely not about that," explains Khorramian. "I'm interested in what happens after life begins again or is changed. As if we could see the ghostly residue of the most recent past and hover over the transition of extinction and regrowth. Normally over one human lifetime we cannot see such a thing."

In one of her pieces, Communication Shrine, three videos are placed inside a refrigerator. Also inside are found objects and personal trinkets representing Swimm's solitary life. Through her fictional character, then, Khorramian is playing with multiple possibilities that allow her to examine the relationship between art and audience.

The Third Line submitted its proposal of Khorramian's work to Art Basel one year ago and Ansari says its acceptance allows it to take regional artists to a wider audience.

"Many of our artists now have thriving careers and are recognised internationally, but it is always important to keep pushing the bill and introducing their work to a wider audience," she says.

It helps people forget stereotypical views about art from the Middle East, she continues. "People expect artists from this region to always work on political themes, or at least very region-centric themes. In the case of Laleh, her work has a more universal base and can be understood by people from any background. It might use the sci-fi element, but it talks about a human journey, of a man adapting to his life in an unfriendly environment - something many people can relate to."


Art Basel runs from Thursday to June 16