ICF’s DIASPORA PAVILION 2: LONDON presented in partnership with BLOCK 336
featuring ANDREW PIERRE HART & MOHAMMAD BARRANGI
11 February – 12 March 2022
Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 5pm
Exhibition essay by Jessica Taylor: please click here to read
Exhibition essay by Orsod Malik: please click here to read
Diaspora Pavilion 2: London presented two new, site-specific, solo installations by artists Andrew Pierre Hart and Mohammad Barrangi.
The exhibition was the second presentation in a series of peripatetic events culminating in ICF’s Diaspora Pavilion 2 (DP2) project. This trans-national, collaborative project advances ICF’s engagement with diaspora as a critical concept following the first Diaspora Pavilion during the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. DP2 interrogates and complicates the term diaspora across various curatorial formats as part of an ongoing mapping of the rich and complex material cultures, mythologies, alternative histories and re-imagined landscapes that are born from the distinct and yet shared reality of belonging to a diaspora.
For Diaspora Pavilion 2: London, Andrew Pierre Hart transformed Gallery 2 with the installation genre pain -ting ; An Ode to Brixton. Responding to Brixton, where Block 336 is based, the work is a part imagined and part physical experience; informed by Hart’s research in the area. Hart has created a vibrant re-conceptualisation of painting through his expanded engagement with sound, still and moving image, performance, text, light and sculpture. The work offers opportunities to gather and contemplate, and it fosters a call and response with Brixton’s Afro-Caribbean community.
Mohammad Barrangi produced five, mural-scale works, using his signature paper transfer technique, that fill the walls of Gallery 1. The works in The Mystical Creatures of Eden combine Persian calligraphy and motifs with scenes of nature from Barrangi’s birthplace, Iran. Significant female figures from his life and animals are reimagined for the other-worldly landscapes he creates. Barrangi has developed a visual language which moves across time and place and is a direct response to his experience of the world.
Both artists used this exhibition as an opportunity to think independently about storytelling and mark making as profoundly personal expressions that have the capacity to speak to the collective experience of diaspora. They re-compose the world as they experience it, layering characters, cultural references and memories, and generating a growing diasporic language. Their defiance of the parameters of printmaking and painting, and their embrace of the natural world and improvisation, are emblematic of the ways in which cultural cross-fertilisation can lead to a restructuring of what exists. This embrace of imagination and transformation takes root in Diaspora Pavilion 2 at Block 336, where Hart and Barrangi breathe new life into real and imagined communities.
Diaspora Pavilion 2: London was curated by Jessica Taylor and marks the first collaboration between ICF and Block 336. It is made possible with support from Art Fund and Arts Council England.
The first iteration of DP2 was presented at Campbelltown Arts Centre in Sydney in partnership with 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art in 2021 and upcoming iterations will take place in Venice during the 59th Venice Biennale and in London presented in partnership with Whitechapel Gallery in 2022 and Block 336 in 2023.
Andrew Pierre Hart lives and works in London. He explores the symbiotic relationship between sound and painting through ongoing rhythmic research and play between improvised and spontaneous generative processes. His practice questions the many formalities and dialogues around painting. His work explores somatic responses to ideas relating to sound, including but not limited to acoustic levitation, spatialisation, the human as a vessel of sound and the creation of physical and theoretical space. Deeply influenced by music, Hart’s work is a renegotiation of the visual language and legacies of Western abstraction, probing connections between the phenomena, language and representation of sound in painting. Recent exhibitions include: Mixing It Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery, London (2021); The Listening Sweet, Tiwani Contemporary, London (2021); and Run the Box, A Solo Show by Andrew Hart, Guts Gallery, London (2020). Hart holds a MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art (2019) and BA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts (2017). He is a recipient of the ArtAngel Thinking Time Award (2020) and Tiffany & Co. x Outset Studiomakers Prize (2019).
Mohammad Barrangi was born in the northern Iranian city of Rasht. He started drawing and illustrating at age 13 and majored in graphic design at the Islamic Azad University of Tonekabon, after which he moved into book illustration and printmaking. Barrangi moved to the UK and undertook a MA at the Royal Drawing School in 2019. Barrangi’s work combines elements of calligraphy, storytelling, text and touches of humour. Born without the use of his left arm, Barrangi has developed a unique process of making large murals, as well as smaller works on paper, that feature layered cultural references and personal imagery. Barrangi has works in the collections of the British Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art. He has exhibited internationally, in cities like London, Edinburgh, Los Angeles, Paris and Dubai. Recent exhibitions include: Anything Is Possible: Mohammad Barrangi, Edinburgh Printmakers, Edinburgh (2022); The Conference of the Birds, Advocartsy, Los Angeles (2020-1); The Drawing Year 2019-20 End of Year Exhibition, Royal Drawing School, London (2021). Barrangi also represented Iran internationally in the 100m sprint as a Paralympian.
International Curators Forum (ICF) was founded by artists and curators in 2007 to offer a dynamic and evolving programme that responds to the conditions and contexts impacting creative practitioners through commissions, exhibitions, projects, publications and events. We provide tools and platforms for professional development and facilitate an open peer-to-peer network inviting participants to be part of a generative system of skills and knowledge transfer. Across all of our work, both critically and practically, we aim to challenge the barriers to equality and inclusivity within our industry.
Through all aspects of our programme we engage with diaspora as a critical framework through which we can address and complicate public discussion, test and explore new innovative curatorial models, and create space for artistic and discursive interventions into historical narratives and systems of representation. Based in London, ICF has conceived and produced projects with artists, curators and thinkers who engage with diaspora across the UK, Europe, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.
The 2016-18 programmes Diaspora Pavilion and Beyond the Frame were nationally and internationally notable for their innovative proposals and approaches to addressing professional development and cultural diversity. The organisation also curates exhibitions and events that address diasporic culture in a global context, examples of which include: Tactical Interventions (Venice, Kassel, Munster, Istanbul in 2007), The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age (Sydney Biennial in 2010), Caribbean Pavilion (Liverpool Biennial in 2010), Black Diaspora Visual Art (2011-2), Curating the International Diaspora (London, Gwangju, Sharjah, Barbados and Martinique 2016-7) and Diaspora Pavilion (Venice, Wolverhampton 2017-8).
Block 336 is an artist-run project space, studio provider and UK registered charity that was founded in 2011. Its core purpose is to support artists by providing time, space and support to develop ambitious projects. Block 336 encourages artists to make new, site-specific work that they may not be able to realise elsewhere. It offers artists the freedom to experiment and push the limits of their studio practice and delivers a public programme of talks, workshops, performances and tours, aiming to expand creative exchange and dialogue around contemporary art.
Since 2012, Block 336 has worked with local organisations focused on disability, mental health and young people, hosting collaborative educational projects and events for their staff, service users and the general public. They have developed partnerships with Artquest, BCA, Black Thrive, Brixton Inclusive, Carers’ Hub Lambeth, Certitude, Creative Future, Lambeth College, Lambeth & Southwark Mind and the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.