Fondation Behnam Bakhtiar interview with Afruz Amighi



1. Discuss your art practice process.

I am interested in the intersection of brutality and decadence, and how this dynamic manifests itself through time and geography. Often I use untraditional materials to express these themes, materials that can be found in hardware stores, such as aluminum radiator covers, woven poly-ethelene, or mosquito netting.  I use these materials as conduits for very traditional symbols and motifs.  In other cases, I employ conventional materials, such as steel and epoxy and abandon recognized imagery altogether. Regardless of the choice of material, I work the medium to its limits, sometimes nearly obliterating it to the point of dematerialization. I am interested in the resilience of the material despite its radical transformation.

2. How long did it take for you to master your skills?

There are so many techniques involved in the creative process that I think it would take more than one lifetime to master all of them.  I am very focused on materials and so I often move from medium to medium and find myself in a continual state of experimentation and learning. About a year ago I began welding and now am finally in a phase where I can begin to realize sculptures that were in my head many years ago. Often I find that my technique and skills are trying to catch up with my imagination.


3. What are you doing to grow as an Iranian artist today?

My growth is very much tied to a hands-on practice. The more I expose myself to new materials and techniques, the more I am able to translate the images in my mind into actual objects and environments. The hand is very important in my work, not out of any principle, but simply because I enjoy making things. I enjoy the feel of new tools, the idiosyncrasies of each material, their possibilities and their limits. 

4. Who are your favourite contemporary artists?

I am very moved by artists who are able to create work in radically different mediums, by artists who are able to generate an atmosphere and command a total environment. Mona Hatoum and Doris Salcedo are two artists who I find possess this incredible ability.

5. Favourite musician and film?


My musical taste changes according to my activity. While I am working in the studio I often listen to reggae to keep me moving through my work. When I am stationary, I opt for the more melancholy. Lately I have been listening to a band called Amen Dunes.

6. What is your life motto?

I feel that my life has been broken up into more than one, and so has required me to adopt many different mottos, some of which endure and others which I eventually abandon. 

7. What inspires you?

Architecture most of all. I am in awe of even the most grotesque suburban sprawls. Even if they are eyesores, I am fascinated by the engineering of how what I perceive as large-scale sculptures are erected, how they endure, decay and transform over time.


8. What do you love most about art?

What I love most is making. But, if you are asking what I love most about being an audience to art, it would be that it takes me back to being a child.

9. What projects are you working on presently? 

I am currently building a shrine, influenced by cathedrals and mosques, out of steel and mosquito netting. It will be the first in a series of wall-based sculptures that will be lit from within.

10. Where can our audience buy your work? 

My work is available through Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in New York.

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