Afruz Amighi: Echo's Chamber

Afruz Amighi: Echo's Chamber
Library Shelf Location 18.AMIG
Publication Date 24 Nov 2017

Afruz Amighi’s delicate abstract sculptures refer to a complex array of architectural sources: the meandering arabesques of Islamic mosques, the angular shapes of Gothic churches, the ornamentation of Manhattan Art Deco buildings and the urban landscape of Brooklyn, among others. Architecture in its various expressions is a medium for Amighi to investigate the way in which humans across cultures and ages build structures which reflect common ideals and aesthetic values in spite of the complexity and precariousness of society. With these sources in mind, Amighi welds common materials such as steel, chain, and mesh into delicate wall sculptures that belie the strength of their industrial components. When illuminated, the sculptures create a wall of shadows, reflecting and magnifying the intricate patterns in a play of light and dark on the walls.

The exhibition’s title embodies this reflective “echo” while also recalling the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus. Amighi is interested in the contradictory nature of Echo being used as a symbol of womankind: while Echo can only repeat what is being said by others, her voice is nonetheless heard repeatedly and endlessly… it cannot be silenced. With this exhibition, Amighi figuratively provides Echo with a chamber, giving her more agency through the possession of a space of her own. Through the use of this universal myth as a conceptual and symbolic referential point, Amighi explores the nature and perception of womanhood while actively advocating for the greater inclusion of female voices in art history and contemporary debates.

Echo’s Chamber marks both a continuation and departure from the artist’s earlier sculptural work. Using a similar technique to her previous architecture-based sculptures, Amighi produces meticulous drawings on Mylar paper before rendering them in three-dimensions. While reminiscent of the abstraction of her earlier work, each of Amighi’s new sculptures represents a female form drawn from different regions and periods of world history. Following recent political events and especially the US election, Amighi’s practice became at once more personal and more political. Responding to the hypermasculinity of the current environment, the sculptures in Echo’s Chamber explore themes of femininity, the qualities of heroines in both mythology and contemporary society, as well as historic and current examples of matriarchal systems in order to articulate the dynamics, similarities and contradictions in the experience of women.

Amighi draws on a wide range of sources: historic texts and Ancient Greek sculpture, medieval European art, Persian architecture, Native American arts and crafts, African art, and the Carnival of New Orleans, among others. Amazon (2017) is inspired in part by Amighi’s fascination with an Ancient Greek sculpture titled The Wounded Amazon in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a larger-than-life sculpture of a woman with her arm drawn back and one of her breasts revealed. The figure does not show any visible wounds and appears fierce and defiant despite the title. In Amighi’s hands, the Amazonian figure becomes even more mysterious, cast in an elusive position that defies a simple narrative.

Pages 87pp
Authors Natasha Morris, Afruz Amighi
Format Softcover
Publisher Sophia Contemporary Gallery
Related Artist Afruz Amighi
Category Artist (relating to a single artist/collaborative team)
Keywords Drawing and mark making, Drawings, Floating sculpture, mixed media sculpture, suspension, Museum display, Mythology, Myth

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