An image of an anonymous blonde woman in a plane is juxtaposed with a little frame of what seems to be a folded silicone sheet. Across from them, an image of a plastic bucket hanging on a street market is paired with a grey plastic sheet of silicone. For her third solo show at the gallery, Safavi proposes recent sculptural and photographic works, including these monochrome framed silicones, combined together with an image investigating the ephemerality of an event.
The artist chooses her color palette by building up associations, while her concerns remain fundamentally experimental. Her interests lay in the accidental and ephemeral nature of things and the observation of their natural particularities, like color. Safavi’s approach creates different observation angles, such as associating a sheet of silicone with an image of a plastic bucket. If the color of the silicone remains in the image of the bucket, she delicately suggests their physical encounter. The ephemeral event draws with and within the space. Safavi takes The Breeder’s surprising architecture as a tool using the corners, the wide openings and the lower parts to emphasize the space ’s own narration.
The series of assemblages of different materials such as concrete, wood, plaster and layers of colored silicone strips result from working within a limited field of materials and actions, which the artist collects around her home or while traveling. Simple forms are simple gestures and create a fundamental visual vocabulary, borrowing impressions of architecture and surfaces. Back and forth, turns and come-backs are symbolically simulated by colorful silicone strips. These works reflect the intimacy of thought and an attempt to work through materials, in search of an event in constant circulation and fluctuation.
The materiality of the silicone and its folded skin-like characteristic suggest also a living organism that it is alive, breathing and sweating. A little blue monochrome (silicone) titled “Untitled” (after Courbet’s blue), 2014 refers to Courbet famous seascapes. Untitled (Notebook 2010-2012), 2013 was the artist notebook between 2010 to 2012. Safavi is equally interested in the monochromic yellow of the cover and in the weight of the words that are written within it. The artist intentionally drilled a hole through the book and placed a little mirror in the back cover, so that one can observe his own reflection while looking at it. Once again, this work depicts the notion of travels and strates, that are pilled through the layers of the paper.
A few floor and wall pieces show “naively shaped” silicone breasts and plastic buckets that the artist commonly uses for the making of her sculptures. Forming oversized vaginas and bellies, these fragmented body-parts ironically increase female stereotype. Titled “Uterine Furies”, Safavi refers to the famous Sèvres porcelain milk bowl, complete with a nipple made in 1788 as part of a 65-piece dining set that Louis XVI commissioned for Marie Antoinette, to use at the royal dairy at the Château de Rambouillet. These late 18th-century Sèvres breast cups are modeled after a Greek drinking cup, produced by Athenian potters, a mastos (meaning breast, udder), made from terracotta in the shape of a female breast, with nipple.
Marie Antoinette and the aristocracy of the time longed for a simpler life. They looked to a Romanticized peasant life. Marie-Antoinette’s laiterie at Rambouillet, a temple of milk and cheese, was a monument to celebrate peasant life and all that was natural. The Breast cups also make a reference to breast-feeding. Medical treatises published in this period, many of which written by physicians attached to the court, encouraged husbands and colleagues to forcibly transplant women to the countryside, in order to be “cured.” “Uterine furies” was a popular term for the sexually specific form of hysteria or the vapors and literature is filled with scurrilous accounts of wayward women.
Selected solo shows: “The Cook and the Smoke Detector”, ChertLüdde, Berlin (2017), “Medullla Plaza”, Kunstverein Grafschaft, Bentheim (2016), “Amygdala”, The Breeder Playroom, Athens (2015), “Airbags”, MOTINTERNATIONAL, Brussels (2015), “cloud metal cities”, Kunsthalle São Paulo, Sao Paolo (2014), “La Nuit Liquide”, The Breeder, Athens (2014); “Οne Torino“, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2013), Kunsthaus Glarus, “After the Monument Comes the People”, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel (2012), “I Wish Blue could be Water”, CRAC Alsace (2012), “Les Figures Autonomes”, Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris (2011).
Selected group shows: Objects like us, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, USA (2018), Meaning can only grow out of intimacy (Limbs, Water, Nostalgia), curated by Elise Lammer, Les Urbaines – 20th edition, Lausanne (2016), Che il vero possa confutare il falso, AgiVerona Collection, Palazzo Pubblico/Santa Maria della Scala/Accademia dei Fisiocritici, Sienna, curated by Luigi Fassi and Alberto Salvadori (2016), Inflected Objects # 2 Circulation – Mise en Séance, Frans Hals Museum | De Hallen Haarlem, Netherlands (2016), The transparent tortoiseshell and the un-ripe umbrella, Glasgow Sculpture Studios, Glasgow (2016), Swiss Art Awards, Basel (2015), milk revolution, curated by Ilaria Marotta and Andrea Baccin, American Academy, Rome (2015), Emmy Moore’s Journal, curated by Quinn Latimer, SALTS, Basel (2013), Strange Comfort (Afforded by the Profession), curated by Adam Szymczyk and Salvatore Lacagnina in collaboration with Annette Amberg and Roos Gortzak, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel (2010).