On Arghavan Khosravi
Arghavan Khosravi is known for imagery that intimately centers the female perspective. Memories of her coming-of-age in Tehran—a metropolitan hub in Iran where liberal values and theocratic governance collide—manifest in the artist’s blending of styles and reference points. The artist weaves together vignettes of female figures abstracted from environments with Persian motifs and surrealistic touches. In light of her upcoming release on Tuesday, January 31, ART FOR CHANGE is excited to take a closer look at the artist’s third ART FOR CHANGE print release The Glass Box, in conversation with her previously released print The Entrapment, benefiting Planned Parenthood of Greater New York. Her work is currently on view at Stems Gallery in Brussels through January 28 in a solo exhibition titled Forced To Be A Saint.
In The Entrapment, red cords and fractured figures are layered and entangled in invisible forces. Multiple figures emerge from the window with the woman from the interior frame silhouetted in black. The composition is deeply inspired by Persian miniature paintings—traditionally small, personal paintings that frequently depicted many groups of figures in narrative compositions. These works often depicted stories important to the owner, in books and illuminated manuscripts that would normally be shown to a viewer in private by the owner. The architectural layering is an apt nod to both the stylized flow of the narrative across the pages and the personal nature of the works from a functional perspective. In both of these works, Khosravi offers her own look into Iranian women’s lives and the universal fight for gender equity.
Arghavan Khosravi, The Glass Box, 2022; Limited Edition Print
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Both personal and universal, Khosravi’s protagonists are often abstracted from the viewer—hair or body obscured and constrained in ties, cloaks and other encumbrances. While she moved to the US many years ago, the contemporary struggles and oppression of women throughout Iran is still a central focus and palpable in her work, where hair and coverings often play a central role.
Her compositions are often on the crest of movement, with a sweeping narrative quality that seeps through tiny details, such as airbrushed bubbles the artist has added in the 15 hand-embellished prints within The Glass Box edition. Often in a process of being wound up or coming undone—Khosravi’s women explore the flexibility that can be yielded from boundaries and constraints.
The Glass Box will be available on artforchange.com beginning Tuesday, January 31. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to gain early access to this exclusive release.