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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Raheleh Filsoofi
On Transcending the Inhibited Space

Reception: September 6, 6-8 PM, Artist talk at 6:30 PM
Dates: August 16-September 25, 2018

The exhibition consists of two, related installations by the Iranian-American artist, Raheleh Filsoofi. Her career is rooted both in Iran and the United States, and her work spans the gulf between the culture of ancient Persia and international trends in art as they are interpreted in the Americas. Her conceptual approach to art, which features video and sound, enables her to address important contemporary issues, often through psychological perception. She is fascinated by the sense that place has in one’s identity and how visual and aural stimulae serve to define it.

The Inh(a/i)bited Space
Multimedia Installation, 2018
The Inh(a/i)bited Space invites the viewer to delve into the artist’s personal recollections of senses, sound, and space. Her handmade vessels of memory, which present site-specific sound-bites, confront the paradox of inhibited and inhabited space in the wake of current socio-political immigration policies. The vessels with wires leading from one to the other, like a rhizomatous structure, collectively perform a symphony of melodic and ambient sound. The installation disrupts the viewer’s sense of utopia with the rhetoric of the travel ban and its progeny: disorientation, anxiety, and psychological displacement.

The Imagined Boundaries
Multimedia Installation, 2016
The Imagine Boundaries utilizes video within spaces that are created by wooden boxes of different shapes and sizes. The arrangement compels the viewer to explore the idea of imagination and reality in three dimensions. What is real and what is not? How do we know what we know? The system is a metaphor for the communities into which our society is organized, a labyrinth of closed spaces where people of different cultures struggle to interact and communicate. From gated communities to less physical, cultural boundaries, our society is rife with boundaries, obstacles in space and comprehension for those that have been here for a long time and those that have just arrived. The installation brings to the fore the confusion that can arise in such circumstances. It is a vision of human existence in which the constitution of identity, the notion of the self, the misunderstanding of otherness, are all part of an individual’s daily experience. Each box is a zone of control or abandonment that the viewer is trying to cross. There is a contrast between what the viewer sees first and what he or she is able to discover inside through video. On the one hand, the installation functions as organized chaos, while on the other it creates opportunities for the viewer to cross boundaries. The elegance of this installation is to pay homage to the spirit of interfaith and intercultural dialog that was promoted by Safa Khaneh Community in Isfahan in Iran in 1902.

Raheleh Filsoofi is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Texas, South Florida and Iran. Her work synthesizes socio-political statements as a point of departure and further challenges these fundamental arguments by incorporating ancient and contemporary media such as ceramics, poetry, ambient sound, and video; aiming for a holistic sensory experience. Her interdisciplinary practices act as an interplay between the literal and figurative contexts of the border, immigration, and inter-cultural communications. She is an active participant in juried art exhibitions both in Iran and the United States, including the recent solo exhibition ‘Imagined Boundaries’- a multimedia digital installation on border issues, consisting of two separate exhibitions debuted concurrently at Florida Cultural Consortium and Abad art gallery in Tehran (2017); ‘Dual Frequency’ group exhibition at The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Florida (2017) and a Group Exhibition ‘Fragile’ at The Contemporary Art Museum of Isfahan, Iran (2016). Her most recent multifaceted, self-curated art exhibition ‘Fold: Art, Metaphor and Practice’- which engaged over 20 artists, scholars, and educators - has proved to be the highlight of her professional artistic career. She has been the recipient of various grants and awards such as the prestigious South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship for Visual and Media Artists funded in part by the National Endowment for the Art and The Dave Bown Project Award (2016). She is an assistant professor of ceramics at University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at the Department of Art. She holds an M.F.A. in Fine Arts from Florida Atlantic University and a B.F.A. in Ceramics from Al-Zahra University in Tehran, Iran.

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Last updated 8/14/2018 10:45 AM