Shamiran Istifan

Precious Pipeline

29 April—11 June 2022

Opening 28 April, 6—8pm

Text by Róisín Tapponi

 

Precious Pipeline is dedicated to global systems of meaning: a response to sacredness, ‘the interconnectedness of things’, radical margins, rhizomatic communities, Instagram mutuals, and the preciousness of womanhood. Ribboned tightly like a corset, these preordained codes of conduct are worn with a painful sensitivity: the exhibition is dedicated to those who wear their heart on their sleeve.

 

In her first UK solo exhibition, Shamiran Istifan addresses the complexity of relations across politics, culture, philosophy, gender and geography. She boldly visualises a series of responses to the intricacies of world-building, drawing on relational aesthetics intimate to her own lived experiences. The exhibition combs through the tangled knots that thread us together, even if we are far apart. The possibilities of meaning are found in the relationships between a diverse range of media: new works which include video, installation and textiles. Patched together, the exhibition proposes a new world order, where 9/11, a nose job and a loss of innocence are all moments to be reborn.  

 

The exhibition straddles co-dependency and cultural assimilation. In this environment, Istifan explores what it means to ‘stay with the trouble’ (Donna Haraway), to co-exist between cultures, geographies and traditions where all feel foreign. This involves an alienation on all sides, an uncomfortableness which has begun to feel like home. There are speculative fictions at play, as decolonial realities are at odds with hegemonic ways of being, already doomed where co-existence isn’t possible. The stakes are high: these relations are as much about grief as they are survival. To move against the grain is to be responsible for change and disruption of concrete systems, to accept the necessity of code-switching when foreignness starts to become too familiar. 

 

The ceremony of this performance—or, this performance of ceremony. The exhibition traces the visual language of traditions, rituals, liturgies that are really just the elaboration of mundane routines. It is a room of smoke-and-mirrors: Istifan uses translucent materials and silver surfaces to reflect/refract the fictions we tell ourselves, playing with the boundaries between landscapes and dreamscapes. The softness of cushions and the sharpness of acrylic sculptures share the same space, as do moving and still images. Subtle impressions and cultural references mark each material, which toys with our ability to fully see any truth or form. The mirrors are blurred, denying the possibility for reflection.

 

Caught between images of weddings and funerals, the exhibition asks: what if we could pause destiny? What do these rituals of life mean, when there is no meaning at all? The exhibition is a rite of passage, a moment of transition with the request that we hold each other softly in this unrelenting, propelling world order. 

Shamiran Istifan (b.1987, Baden, Switzerland) lives and works in Zurich. Her desire to tell stories originated in the experience of growing up in the so-called two-worlds-system which formed for her generation. Istifan's art practice focuses on layered social dynamics, motivated by her personal experience of the way class, gender and religion shape collectivism, politics and personal relationships. Through an intimate aesthetic her work points to way symbolism permeates daily life. Recent solo exhibitions include: Law&Order, Kulturfolger, Zurich, Switzerland (2021); G by Destiny, All Stars, Lausanne, Switzerland (2021) and Micro Entities, Material, Zurich, Switzerland (2020). Selected group exhibitions include: Reflection is the Daughter of the Scandal, Angela Mewes, Berlin (2021); As We Gaze Upon Her, Warehouse421, Abu Dhabi (2021); Depuis des Lunes, Urgent Paradise, Lausanne (2021); 5th Floor, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2021) and Nour el Ain, Karma International, Zurich (2021). In September 2021, she was awarded the Werkshau Prize by Kanton of Zurich for her work Ex Amore Vita: Ladies’ Room, 2021.

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view
Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan
Maryam I, 2022

Metallic jersey, wadding, lining, thread
107 x 97 x 5.5 cm

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Shamiran Istifan

Maryam I, 2022

(alternative view)

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Shamiran Istifan

Maryam I, 2022

(detail)

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Shamiran Istifan
Maryam II, 2022

Metallic jersey, wadding, lining, thread
108 x 88 x 4.5 cm

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Shamiran Istifan

Maryam II, 2022

(alternative view)

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Shamiran Istifan

Maryam II, 2022

(detail)

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Shamiran Istifan
Maryam III, 2022

Metallic jersey, wadding, lining, thread
108 x 88 x 4.5 cm

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Shamiran Istifan

Maryam III, 2022

(alternative view)

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Shamiran Istifan

Maryam III, 2022

(detail)

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan
Chiasm of Lovemaking / Gouriye, 2022

Acrylic
77.5 x 120 cm

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Shamiran Istifan
Chiasm of Lovemaking / Gouriye, 2022

(detail)

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan
Chiasm in the Flood Narrative, 2022

Acrylic
20 x 20 x 1 cm

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Shamiran Istifan
Chiasm in the Flood Narrative, 2022

(alternative view)

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan
Wedding Dove, 2022

Giclée print, cotton rag paper, polished aluminium frame
20 x 30 cm

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Shamiran Istifan
Become Haifa, 2022

Acrylic
35 x 60 cm

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Shamiran Istifan
Become Haifa, 2022

(detail)

 

Louis Morlæ
Jumbo, 2022
PLA, silicone, nylon, resin, calico
200 x 90 x 27 cm
Edition of 1 plus 1 AP

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan
Eternal Return of the Same Girls, 2022

Giclée print, cotton rag paper, polished aluminium frame
30 x 100 cm

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Shamiran Istifan
Eternal Return of the Same Girls, 2022

(detail)

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Shamiran Istifan
Trip to Jerusalem, 2022

Video, sound, subtitles

3 minutes, 7 seconds

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Shamiran Istifan
Trip to Jerusalem, 2022

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022

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Shamiran Istifan, Precious Pipeline installation view

Moarain House, 29 April—11 June 2022