Laleh Kazemi Veisari Beckers Art Award 2022
Main hall, Färgfabriken
Curator Emilia Rosenqvist
The 35th Beckers Art Award – a grant of 200,000 SEK – will this year be awarded Laleh Kazemi Veisari who was born in 1983 and works in Stockholm. In 2019, she graduated from Konstfack in Stockholm.
Laleh Kazemi Veisari is driven by a desire to understand the world, which she does by applying varying perspectives: by looking closely or at a distance, by interpreting or inserting both the abstract and the concrete into her art. This is done by gathering pieces of information which she alternately puts together or break apart for a deeper understanding of the world. With a background in Sweden, Germany, Iran and Finland as well as with broad language skills, the artist explores cultures and ways of expression. By searching, finding, and collecting these fragments she continues to build on the growing foundation of her artistry.
Prior to the exhibition at Färgfabriken, Kazemi Veisari has conducted an intensive correspondence with friends and relatives to gather memories and objects loaded with stories. This resulted in a network of communication which engaged many people in the artist’s vicinity all throughout the process. In the exhibition Unknown Land, we are shown five newly produced installations and series of works, which stand on their own. They carry their own stories and communicate seamlessly across borders as a kind of state or a feeling that embody the overall title Unknown Land. By channelling and bringing together information and objects, Laleh Kazemi Veisari creates a presence where we are included as co-creators and discoverers.
About the artist
Laleh Kazemi Veisariwas born in 1983 and works in Stockholm. Her work is interdisciplinary, engages collaborative processes and explores the imaginary, both socially and spatially, through expressions such as painting, drawing, sculpture and writing.
In 2019, Laleh Kazemi Veisari received her MA in Free Art from Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Design) with the exhibition Letters from Water. She also has an MA in interdisciplinary studies from the Department of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg and a BA in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
On top of that, Laleh Kazemi Veisari has been awarded the 2019 Bernadotte Scholarship for her project The relationship between drawing and painting through Walter Benjamin’s historical philosophical theses (Über den Begriff der Geschichte). In connection with her receiving the Bror Hjorth scholarship for young cartoonists in 2018, her first solo exhibition Porous Red Dust premiered in Uppsala.
Last year (2021) Laleh Kazemi Veisari presented an exhibition titled Yrsel at Göteborgs Konsthall, published an text- and artwork in #3–4 issue of Ord&Bild and the exhibition Of Silica at Belenius.
Laleh Kazemi Veisari talks about how she collects bits of information and fragments of knowledge, which she pieces together to get a better understanding of our world. In accordance with this endeavour, she deconstructs images, which are divided and broken down to the component level, with the aim of discovering what’s hidden in the whole. She uses drawing as a method for reflecting on selected issues, for further deconstruction, and as a way of communicating both with herself and her surroundings.
With a background in Sweden, Iran and Finland, she weaves together traces of impressions and fragments of knowledge. It’s traces of geopolitical upheavals and reflections of water that metaphorically connect the continents. With broad language skills, she immerses herself into cultures and ways of expression, and finds there traces of shards that she picks up to continue the collection of what constitutes the growing foundation for her entire artistry.
When exploring alternative possibilities, she likes to work in series, with a repetition that forms a return and rhythm in images and sculptures. She seeks a diversity that she herself calls epistemic pluralism. This is, again, a way to flush out pieces of knowledge that are hidden inside the whole or in details. She tries different perspectives: to look closely or from a distance, to want to interpret and insert both the abstract and the concrete.
Laleh Kazemi Veisari has been awarded the 2022 Beckers Art Award because, in her ambitious quest to understand the world, she succeeds in creating a varied visual expression, which conveys new perspectives on the world. She creates art that in its poetically austere expression constantly shifts focus between the small concrete details and the incomprehensible diversity of the world. By deconstructing vast quantities of information, which are joined together in drawing, sculpture, painting, and text, she creates a presence where we’re included as co-creators and discoverers.
On behalf of the jury/Magnus Jensner
Under the carpet I–VII (2022), paintings.
Go and hide my eyes, Bring me my eyes, Go and hide my ears, Bring me my ears.
Under the carpet is a suite of seven paintings where the artist was inspired by a family heirloom, a carpet, and its significance as a storyteller and memory bearer. The object, which has moved from one place to another, has become a link between places and people. The artist has regarded the rug as a layer of memory, place and language. In the process she has started a dialogue with people who have memories of the carpet and with the people that have had it in their homes. The artist has abstracted its original shape by dividing it into different layers of colour and symbols in each painting, thus creating an archive that preserves the fragments of memory and events. By washing off and applying thin layers of paint, the painting leaves traces of the process.
In Departure I–IV (2022) objects/found/reconstructed; video.
Transparent Body (2022), video 10:05 min.
Opaque Body (2022), video 3:55 min.
In her exploratory practice, the artist wanders, observes and collects found objects and materials presented here as fragments of sculptures, video, reconstructions, artefacts, in the materials concrete, iron, copper, granite, walnut wood, rose, pomegranate and poppy.
Nima I–X (2022), sculptures.
The sculpture series Nima consists of five sculptures, in walnut wood and linen thread, hanging in pairs. They allude to the closing of the eye and the dream, to the time and annual rings, and to those who are not here. The tactile threads that sit together with the wood fall and stretch like roots, antennae and nerves searching for contact and closeness.
Siah-o Sefid (2022), installation.
Fifty years ago, the stop-motion animation Siah-o Sefid (IR 1972) or Black White was produced, directed by Iranian film director Sohrab Shahid Saless (1944–1998) on behalf of Kanoon (The Center for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults) in Iran. While the animation was hailed with an award during the Tehran International Children’s Film Festival, the Iranian government was critical of Shahid Sale’s works and documentaries because of their socially critical nature. Shahid Saless was forced to leave Iran in 1974. The installation Siah-o Sefid (2022) (after the original title) gives new life to this animation. The typical striped football, which children often play with on the streets of Iran, leaks into the room. The painting shows scenes from a banal conflict over a football that derails and leads to captivity. In prison, the ball multiplies to about thirty balls, which becomes a marker of this repeated banality. In an exchange of letters that led up to the exhibition, the artist has had postal parcels sent with the typical balls from Tehran.
Aabi (2020, 2022) installation, with 22 min audio (2022).
Aabi, or Blue, is an installation of light, textile and sound, where Laleh Kazemi Veisari has collaborated with David Strid (artist, composer) to create a sonic story. In an abstract associative soundtrack based on Voyager 2’s encounter with the planet Neptune in 1989, the listener moves through a mythopoetic journey through Aabi’s fictional world: a world of hidden gardens and transformed bodies.
Beckers Art Award was established in 1987 and has since then proven to have a remarkable ability to identify young talents on the brink of a breakthrough in their careers. The winner is awarded a grant, which from 2017 has been raised from 150,000 to 200,000 SEK, and a solo exhibition that has, since 2001, been arranged and held in collaboration with Färgfabriken.
The jury: Jenny Lindén Urnes, Mårten Castenfors and Magnus Jensner