SELECTED WORKS

Untitled, 2018 (diptych), inkjet print, framed 26.5×21.5×3.2 cm 35.5x27x3.5 cm

Turns and Returned, exhibition view, The Breeder Athens

Extensible Innocence, 2018, colored silicone, framed, 102x83x7 cm

Turns and Returned, installation view, The Breeder Athens

 

Untitled, 2018, concrete, silicone straps, 29×15.5×5 cm

Untitled, 2018, concrete, silicone straps 35x16x5.5 cm

Untitled, 2018, concrete, silicone straps 12.5x20x5 cm

Turns and Returned, exhibition view, The Breeder Athens

Untitled, 2018, inkjet print, framed 26.5×21.5×3.2 cm

Green Shades (south), 2018, colored silicone, frame

Untitled, 2018, concrete, silicone straps 31x47x6 cm

Uterine Furries I, II, III, exhibition view, The Breeder Athens

Uterine Furries (II), 2018, plastic buckets, colored silicone, rope 83x43x14 cm

Uterine Furries (III), 2018, plastic buckets, colored silicone 100x30x12 cm

 

Uterine Furries I, II, III, exhibition view, The Breeder Athens

Turns and Returned, exhibition view, The Breeder Athens

Untitled, (After Courbet’s Blue), 2014, colored silicone, wood 30x23x7 cm

Untitled, (After Courbet’s Blue), 2014, colored silicone, wood 30x23x7 cm

Untitled, (Note book from 2010 2012), 2013, book, mirror, plexiglas 22.6×16.5×4.5 cm

An image of a anonymous blonde woman in a plane, this time arranged next to a yellow plastic sheet of silicone. For her third solo show at the gallery Safavi proposes recent sculptural and photographic works including these silicones framed monochromes combined together with an image investigating the ephemerality of an event.
It is clear that the artist choose her color panel by building up associations. Her concerns are fundamentally experimental. The artist 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 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 its 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 for their particularities 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, made and arranged in her studio. 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 colors play an important part is Safavi’s work and result mostly from her travel impressions but also from contemporary culture. They belong to a subtil system she organizes ingeniously. Color and materials hold social and cultural meanings; her silicone based works attest that precisely. However, the materiality of the silicone and its folded skin-like characteristic suggests also a living breath that it is alive and that sweat air bubbles. 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 and the weight of words that figure in the book. The artist intentionally drilled an hole through the book and placed a little mirror in the back cover that one can reflect its own image while looking at it. Once again, that work depicts the notion of travels and strates, the returns and come back is emphasized and 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 use 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 his queen, Marie Antoinette, to use at the royal dairy at the Château de Rambouillet. There were a set of four Breast cups made for drinking milk from. 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.
During the Age of Sensibility the aristocracy and Marie Antoinette 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. Also the Breast cups make a reference to breast-feeding. Medical treatises published in this period, many of which were written by physicians attached to the court, encouraged husbands and colleagues to forcibly transplant women to the countryside if they refused to go gently in order to be “cured.” “Uterine furies” was a popular term for the sexually specific form of hysteria or the vapors and its literature is filled with scurrilous accounts of wayward women.

 

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The Girl who kept Walking on Other People’s Feet (holding substitute)”, 2017, stainless steel structure, leather, ceramics, each ceramic: ø 22 cm, structure: 210 x 1120 cm ø 4 cm

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The Girl who kept Walking on Other People’s Feet (holding substitute)”, 2017, stainless steel structure, leather, ceramics, each ceramic: ø 22 cm, structure: 210 x 1120 cm ø 4 cm

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The Cook and the Smoke Detector, 2017, Exhibition view at ChertLüdde, Berlin

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Complex Social Life – The triangle of Atrocity (Holding Substitute), 2017, steel, paint, 325 cm ø 4 cm

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Hello Lobster!, 2017, silicone, wood frame, ø 57 cm

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The Cook and the Smoke Detector, 2017, Exhibition view at ChertLüdde, Berlin

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The Witness, 2017, silicone, wood frame, 35 x 30 x 11 cm

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The Victim, 2017, silicone, wood frame, 28 x 22 x 10 cm

On a hot summer day, steamy and crowded public transport is, beyond doubts, one of the worst place to find yourself in. But it is to this scenario and its hidden poetic of countless possibilities that Vanessa Safavi dedicates her third solo exhibition with ChertLüdde.
Titled The Cook and the Smoke Detector the show evokes an odd yet familiar setting through a new series of sculptures based on the accidental properties of an object or a situation. With a sharp playfulness, Safavi investigates again the topics of body and trauma, exposing how trivial misfortune acts on the complex mind-body relationship.
Safavi likes to hijack our common sense and to give unexpected meanings to what we usually take for granted. In this exhibition, she uses the familiarity of our urban everyday environment — from public transport handrail to a fried egg.
Her ongoing series Holding Substitute concerns the experience of the desarticulated body, questioning the relationship between the brain and the flesh. Gathering pictures of public transport’s grab handles that she has been taking during her travels, Safavi attempts to overcome their mere function as passenger support. Rather than being synonyms of imbalance, disability or stabilisation, they suggest a narrative dramaturgy in which all bodies become actors of a forced and involuntary dance.
She describes urban public transport as: “the place where everybody is equal, anonymous and therefore the best place to understand society. I imagine public transport like a contemporary theatre, were actors and public melt into one another”.
Using conceptual systems of language and a personal narrative, Safavi explores and enquiries the contemporary identity of the body, in relation to the constant optimisation of technologies and its cultural impacts in our hyper-organised society. This mechanism has unequivocally driven society to a new sphere of identity, in addition to a complex, vulnerable and schizophrenic fragility. To this end, Safavi work recalls the weakness of our bodies, along with the poetry that emerges from them.
Being interested in the materiality of the silicone by analogy with the skin and the human body, the artist states: “Silicone is an interesting element to look at in order to understand contemporary fashions and human behaviours. The complexion of the skin is a fundamental creator of identity and it is so deeply rooted in a cultural history. In this way, when cultural history changes, the same happens to the understanding of our body and thus to the value of our skin.”
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Reasons and Disguises, 2016, glazed porcelain, 27 x 14 x 10 cm

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We can have sex on my neighbor’s lawn but I must be back before midnight, 2017, silicone, wood frame, 28 x 22 x 10 cm

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He slowly stretched out his wife on a bed of rose, denials and doubts and whispered to her ears sandy and imperceptible words until her body finally took the shape of a drawer, 2017, silicone, wood frame, 28 x 22 x 10 cm

Inside Out, 2016, silicone, frame, 101 x 69 cm

Hand’s Bite, 2017, silicone, frame, 101 x 70 cm

Untitled (cosmos before and after #FF8E7 – #9CFFCE), 2015, silicone, plexiglas frame, 32,5 x 53,5 x 4 cm

Astronaut on drugs (XANAX), 2015, silicone, frame. 47.7 x 6 cm

Astronaut on drugs (ANTI-MOON DUST), 2015, silicon, frame. 47 x 7 x 6 cm

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So Many Banana Skins in the Pathway (Holding Substitute I), 2016, Metal, paint, PVC, silicone, fabric, 98 x 13 x 6 cm

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No Omlette without Breaking Eggs (Holding Substitute IV), 2016, Metal, paint, cotton strap, silicone, 98 x 13 x 6 cm

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Walking on Eggs (Holding Substitute V), 2016, Metal, paint, cotton strap, PVC, ginger cookie, chopstick, 98 x 13 x 6 cm

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Untitled, 2016, PVC foam, latex tubes, paint, 43 x 38cm

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Hijacked Afternoon Plans, 2016, rigid PVC foam, paint, latex, chopsticks, coffee cups, dimensions variable

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Postponed Figure, 2016, hijacked Afternoon Plans, 2016, rigid PVC foam, paint, latex, chopsticks, coffee cups, dimensions variable

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Blind Date, 2016. Metal, paint, soft PVC, 108 x 18 x 58 cm

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Ménage à trois, 2016, ceramic and porcelain, variable dimensions

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Mauvaises Langues, 2016, ceramic and porcelain, variable dimensions

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Les Figures Autonomes (Fiji), 2011, metal, paint, variable dimensions

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Les Figures Autonomes (Ika), 2011, metal, paint, variable dimensions

Les Figures Autonomes (Ika), 2011, metal, paint, variable dimensions

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Ourselves in Black Holes like Small Silences, 2013, silicone, rubber, 95 x 41 cm

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In the black depths of the sea there exist aquatic creatures who create light out of themselves. It is one thing whom occur to me. What we see before us is just one tiny part of the world. We get into the habit of thinking, This is the world, but that’s not true at all. The real world is in a much darker and deeper place than this, and most of it is occupied by jellyfish and things. We just happen to forget all that, 2012. Plastic balls, (dyptich), plexiglass, pedestal. Dimensions variable

Uncertainty, 2015, metal, bandages, plaster, silicon, 66 x 120 x 220 cm

Uncertainty, 2015, metal, bandages, plaster, silicon, variable dimensions

Airbags, exhibition view, MOT international, 2015

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, aluminum, light, missed connection messages printed on paper, variable dimensions

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, silicone, missed connection messages printed on paper, variable dimensions

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, aluminum, missed connection messages printed on paper, variable dimensions

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, aluminum, missed connection messages printed on paper, variable dimensions

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, aluminum, missed connection messages printed on paper, variable dimensions

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, aluminum, silicone, variable dimensions

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Cloud Metal Cities, 2014, aluminum, silicone, missed connection printed on paper, variable dimensions

Vanessa Safavi has been over the years developing a deep and fascinating research around plastics, especially silicone, which attracts her by its allegory of beauty and perversion, transformation, its mutability and plasticity. Silicone and silicon play an important role in the modern world economy, being present in the chemical, electronic and computing industry, and especially in medicine, where its use in plastic surgery has been increasing immensely over the last decades.
Although the use of plastics have extensively been explored in the visual arts, literature and science fiction, Vanessa Safavi’s interest lies in the playful and elastic aspect of the silicone, which allows her to produce fleshy and slimy surfaces. Through her works, the artist explores diverse forms of sexuality and fashion that evolve in our digital and contemporary era. Moreover, her interpretation of silicone relates to conceive and celebrate a sexualized and powerful body as a creative and communicative tool, and not as an object.
In the exhibition Cloud Metal Cities at Kunsthalle São Paulo, her first solo show in Brazil that continues the project Nature and Knowledge, Vanessa Safavi presents three framed silicone works, whose distorted surface, although folded under the glass, still appears elastic, symbolizing a sort of entropic whirlpool. Titled Skin, body, air, they suggest the skin and the body as a connected envelope, an interior, both physically and conceptually. Safavi’s silicones are not only an allegory of the body’s performances and transformations, but also hold a feminine and poetic aspect. They explore the concept of the body as a tool to colonize space and nature. In this context, the Brazilian enthusiastic sense of body cult and body transformation is another layer to add to this work.
Having arrived in Brazil a month ago, the artist could eventually understand the modernist heritage, the neo-concretism and abstractionist traditions in Brazil. However she is not melancholic of modern times, rather more interested in how to interpret this imprint of the modernist model today in a quickly growing Brazil, that moves from a colonialist past to a new multicultural capitalist global culture. In her work, Safavi often questions the social and cultural collective as well as individual identities by using other cultures as raw material, analyzing them and incorporating them into her work. Opposing nature and science, culture and philosophy, she has been developing a new body of work, combining her research on plastics and other materials such as aluminium.
Cloud Metal Cities evokes this research on the potential of combining materials together. By using industrial materials with a poetic touch, Safavi introduces automatically new layers of interpretation. All materials are primarily signs that convey messages and information. Their materiality determines a cultural or a social value. The exhibition title works as a very simple collage of words that could relate to a science fiction scenario. The cloud – simultaneously natural and virtual – gathers the humidity of nature, the pollution of the city and in the same time stocks a constant flux of digital information. Influenced by the crystallized visions of her travel the artist describes the city physically, emotionally, and virtually with a taste for fantastic surrealism.
Histoires, Historias, the picture that illustrates Safavi’s exhibition, shows a woman wearing white jeans and a short top made of aluminum. The choice to use aluminum came also as a reference to Lygia Cark’s sculptures, titled Bichos (Critters) for their organic character. They represent the last stage of Lygia Clarks’s geometric research before she started exploring more conceptually ephemeral and sensory forms. Alluding to Lygia Clark’s body of work, Safavi designed a series of sculptures made of aluminum sheets that display her failure to reproduce Bichos. These sculptures are labeled as “failures” because they exist in a context that has changed, referring to a past which the artist has never encountered. Safavi thus prefers to give them the shape of a new existence.
Displayed on the floor, her works structure the void and remain sculptures at same time. As ruins in an abandoned city, their surfaces reflect all sources of light and sketch distorted, almost psychedelic images. Up close, crystalline dashes of an unknown liquid seem to flow down the metallic surfaces. Silent and enigmatic, almost invisible, what is on the surface is unknown, but the title Antropofàgia is nevertheless a clear reference to Clark’s work and Brazilian art history. It evokes the organic softness in a “swallowed-up” past and a raw physical murmur.

Vital Energy and Relaxed Being (Guyabas), 2012, silicone, frame, 162 x 114 cm

Vital Energy and Relaxed Being (ocean blue), 2012, silicone, frame, 162 x 114 cm

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Each Color is A Gift for You, 2012, taxidermy, variable dimensions

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Each Color is A Gift for You, 2012, taxidermy, variable dimensions

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Each Color is A Gift for You, 2012, taxidermy, variable dimensions

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Each Color is A Gift for You, 2012, taxidermy, variable dimensions

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Each Color is A Gift for You, 2012, taxidermy, variable dimensions

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Plenty of None, 2010, sand, sport wear, resin, variable dimensions

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Plenty of None, 2010, sand, sport wear, resin, variable dimensions

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Plenty of None, 2010, sand, sport wear, resin, variable dimensions

contact :
vanessa.safavi@gmail.com
http://www.chert-berlin.com
http://thebreedersystem.com/