Shahpour Pouyan participates in a group exhibition titled The New Minimalists at the Abrons Arts Center in New York, opening on 27 January 2018.
Working in a variety of media, the exhbiting artists maintain the sparse aesthetic, abstraction, and re-examination of the hierarchies of traditional art materials and processes that defined historical Minimalism. Yet they distinguish themselves as part of new generation of practitioners, more inclined to replace the monumental with the intimate, draw inspiration from craft instead of industry, and overtly marry formalism with the personal and political.
Pouyan’s benign formalist sculptures belie their violent inspirations. Each of Pouyan’s concrete-grey domes is a scale visual representation of the energy released in a specific nuclear bomb. The size of the final dome, Russia’s Tzar Bomba, renders the first piece in this installation so small that the artist has encased it in a clear shell to ensure that it isn’t overlooked. This miniscule first dome is a bunker buster, a standard explosive weapon. The second is America’s ‘Little Boy’, dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. Pouyan pairs man’s explosive potential with that of nature’s; Hanging behind the sculptures, upside-down, is a meticulous drawing of snowcapped Mount Fuji. But Pouyan titles this piece Peak Damavand – playfully commemorating an erroneous billboard at Tehran international airport that welcomed visitors to Iran with an image of Mount Fuji in the background. The billboard should have featured Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Iran and Asia’s highest volcano.
The exhibition continues until 25 February 2018.