Following the murder of George Floyd by police officers, demonstrations across the U.S. and beyond ignite against racism and police brutality, at times met with less than magnanimous authority.
Nairy Baghramian (b.1971 in Isfahan, Iran; lives and works in Berlin) is one of the most influential sculptors currently active. The artist has become internationally known for her contextual approach to exhibition-making via sculpture and photography in a site-responsive practice that plays off the body and its supportive functions.
Déformation Professionnelle is a new production which builds on 18 sets of works in the artist’s oeuvre from 1999 to 2016. Baghramian alludes to existing work and associated elements, from discarded ideas to working material. In this exhibition she is, in her own words, “surveying the survey”. By refusing to show what exists and nevertheless reconsider it in the ‘new’, this exhibition connects to fundamental questions about progress and economy and asks when something ceases to exist, and how something new comes into being.
Taking its title from a French phrase that means an adjustment to one’s worldview that results from being overly specialized, it also speaks of analyzing one’s profession or métier: in this case the artist’s method. Baghramian radically liberated her oeuvre by reducing it to a supporting structure around which, as it were, she built a prosthesis in the form of this exhibition. Déformation Professionnelle was literally conceived in the setting of two eclipsed spaces: the real or fictive blueprints of completed artworks, and the architectural space of S.M.A.K.
Nairy Baghramian has received international recognition, with exhibitions at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City (2015), the Art Institute of Chicago (2014), Museu Serralves in Porto (2014), the Sculpture Center in New York (2013) and the Venice Biennale (2011).