Mona Aghababaee (IR)

June 4 - August 2, 2020 in The Demo Room at Galleri Image

There are two words for “time” in ancient Greek: chronos refers to chronological time, and kairos refers to moments of opportunity. Kairos is a critical time, a time for action, a time that must be seized. It conveys a sense of urgency.

Iranian artist Mona Aghababaee explores this notion of time using the figure of a woven wheel. Wheels are imbued with the possibility of movement, and carry ideas of momentum and revolution. Aghababaee has created three wheel sculptures, each made with second-hand fabric, for her Kairos exhibition trilogy. Her first wheel stood tall and imposing within a museum gallery, threatening to rotate at any moment. Her second wheel was hyper-active, used by children in a playground obstacle course.

For The Demo Room, Aghababaee has created a wheel that cannot spin. Long strips of used clothing, bedding, and other textiles were wound in a dense spiral, forming a wheel that is slightly larger than the height of the window gallery. The wheel became immobile once it was jammed into the small space.

To underline the wheel’s current useless state, the artist intended to exhibit images of herself using the wheel in a series of public performances in the streets of Isfahan, Iran. The images were also meant to situate the wheel in another time and place, revealing it as an object that contains memories - both of its own history, and the histories of its materials.

This became impossible in March 2020, when Iran was an epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemic. Aghababaee instead coached the curator to make the wheel, using second-hand materials sourced in Aarhus. When seen through this lens, the immobile wheel reveals a different kind of history - emblematic of a moment of mass confinement, when creativity, labour, and social connection have been challenged in unprecedented ways.

Kairos is the third of three exhibitions at The Demo Room featuring former AaBKC Residency artists-in-residence, and is presented in connection with Aarhus Billedkunstcenter. Curated by Pamela Grombacher. Supported by Aarhus Kommune.

Mona Aghababee (b.1982) is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and works in Isfahan, Iran. Working primarily in sculpture and installation, Aghababaee's practice forms a continual dialogue with everyday objects and their relation to the body. Her current research focuses on the social and political potential of sculpture. Aghababaee is co-founder and co-director of Va Space for Contemporary Art in Isfahan, an exhibition and residency platform that invites national and international artists, critics and writers to engage with the local community in a creative and artistic atmosphere.

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