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Press Release

Z33 presents the first two-person exhibition of internationally acclaimed artists Kamrooz Aram (IR, 1978) and Iman Issa (EG, 1979). Titled Lives of Forms, this exhibition focuses on the artists’ explorations of the political significance of aesthetic forms.

In recent years, there has been a public debate in Europe about which histories are represented in museums and public monuments. Which histories are remembered and which are forgotten? How does this affect the way we see ourselves and other cultures? Asking such questions changes our view of museums and monuments. 

Kamrooz Aram and Iman Issa study our view of works of art, artifacts and monuments. Their work examines how our beliefs about the origin, function or subject of a work of art determine its meaning. 

In Z33 Iman Issa reinterprets existing works of art and monuments. In her sculptural installations she seeks new forms to evoke the same ideas, public figures and historical events as those in the original works to which she refers. Stripped of recognizable details, her versions are nothing like the originals to which she alludes in her accompanying texts. Where the shape of a work of art or monument normally remains unchanged over time, the meaning of what it represents changes as a result of historical developments. Issa's works seek new forms for these changing meanings. What forms can convey the meaning of a word, person or historical moment?

Kamrooz Aram's unique approach to painting extends beyond the canvas. He also paints the gallery walls, making the exhibition design part of his artwork. In his work he gives ornament a central role in modern painting. In doing so, he challenges the Eurocentric view of art history, in which ornamental art is often regarded as a lesser art form. Aram's compositions reveal surprising parallels between ornamental art and geometric abstract painting. He creates interdependence between paintings, objects and the exhibition design. For example, he invites the viewer to reflect on how the form of museum presentations influences our view of art.

The two artists have been jointly invited to show their work because their artistic practices reinforce each other. The artists share an interest in the political meaning of aesthetic forms, but their individual methods and artistic choices are completely different. When you see their works side by side, you become more aware of those differences, while the similarities between the artworks bring a whole new perspective to their practice. 

Curator: Tim Roerig & Silvia Franceschini

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Kamrooz Aram, Untitled (Arabesque Composition), 2021, Oil, oil crayon and wax pencil on canvas, 172.72 x 198.12 cm
Kamrooz Aram, Untitled (Arabesque Composition) (detail), 2021
Kamrooz Aram, Untitled (Arabesque Composition), 2020, Oil, oil crayon and wax pencil on canvas, 152.12 x 167.64 cm
Kamrooz Aram, Untitled (Arabesque Composition), 2021, Oil, oil crayon and pencil on linen, 137.16 x 101.6 cm
Kamrooz Aram, Palimpsest 50, 2019, Oil, oil crayon, wax pencil and pencil on canvas, 213.4 x 152.4 cm
Kamrooz Aram, Palimpsest 51, 2019
Kamrooz Aram, Andata (luster on Blue Gaze), 2021, Oil, pencil and book page on linen, 60.96 x 50.8 cm
Kamrooz Aram, Untitled (Islamic Art), 2021, Paper, book covers and color pencil on linen, 101.6 x 76.2 cm
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