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Sissi Farassat, Negin Mahzoun, Azita Moradkhani, Koushna Navabi, Sepideh Salehi e Zoya Shokoohi 

curated by Rischa Paterlini

opening Tuesday, February 27th, 2024 


on view until March 30th, 2024

Galleria Anna Marra is pleased to present INTRECCI (INTERTWINING), a group show curated by Rischa Paterlini, containing works by six Iranian woman artists who, though they now all live outside the country where they were born, have in common their close links to their roots and its traditions.
Sissi Farassat, Negin Mahzoun, Azita Moradkhani, Koushna Navabi, Sepideh Salehi and Zoya Shokoohi translate their experiences into a powerful form of artistic expression, challenging the silence imposed by social conventions.

Following the cultural revolution of 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iranian women have witnessed a gradual restriction of their rights, culminating in the tragic killing of Masha Amini in Teheran in September 2022, triggering an unstoppable revolt by Iranian women. The works featured in this exhibition gain an even more profound meaning within the context of this rebellion, they are a scream of protest against an oppressive regime.
Thus, INTERTWINING seeks to be a voyage into a reality which is both current and dramatic, extending beyond geographical and cultural limits. It exploits the power of art as a vehicle of expression and universal connection.

The artists presented explore this denial, resilience and rebellion, keeping the public’s attention on the policies of repression alive. Despite their self-imposed exile from their homeland, the artists maintain a constant awareness of their roots. The artworks are authentic visual narrations that reveal the delicate tension between tradition and innovation, the individual and society. Using different media they explore contemporaneity from a multiplicity of prospectives, creating a rich and dynamic dialogue, that encourages the spectator to reflect on the complexity of their geopolitical context.
An intertwining that might sometimes appear surreal though without necessarily attempting to mean an escape from reality, but rather an “other” modality illuminating situations within which, otherwise, it would be impossible to speak.


The work of Sepideh Salehi, which opens the exhibition opens, intertwines the artist’s personal story with that of Iranian women who, like herself, have lived their country’s social and political changes. She uses a number of materials to express the concepts of covering, concealment, privacy and abuse of power. In her works traditional Iranian themes that she photographs personally or finds online often recur. Using these expedients the artist seeks memories of the past and preserves them from oblivion, presenting them to us in a new guise. Her works manifest introspection and resistance and by using a black background, she emphasizes the isolation experienced by each individual.

The works of Sepideh are displayed beside those of Azita Moradkhani who explores through her drawings and the installation the vulnerability of the female body. The artist designs lingerie with unexpected and disturbing details to express the feelings of insecurity within one’s own body. Despite this, her art generates a sort erotism that seduces the spectator. Her iconographic apparatus takes elements of photojournalism, artistic photography and historic symbolism that reveal the interconnections between pleasure and pain, private and public, between sexual representation and national identity.
The exhibition continues with the sculptures of Koushna Navabi, whose artistic method involves the use of textiles, embroidery and knitting to create a variety of deformed or transformed objects that present a surreal exploration of the domestic world of the family. The artist reformulates the comforting parts of the house and childhood to create a sense of estrangement and express the impossibility of stability and joy resulting from of the upheaval of expatriation and moving, closely connected with her personal experience.
Sewing is also a part of the artistic research of Sissi Farassat who embroiders her photographs, some of which are autobiographic, with beads, crystals and glittering sequins, transforming the images into a sort of tapestry that reveals a blend influences both artistic and from Persian and Viennese design. Working manually the artist isolates the main subject from the background, eliminating the original context and the distinction between revealed and concealed. At the same time she alters the photograph’s intrinsic properties to create multiple copies.
The two series of works in the exhibition by Negin Mahzoun (Destruction and I am not a Tale to be Told) use a blending of embroidery and photography. After printing her image on cloth, the artist distorts it by sewing, fixing indelibly on it a history of oppression. She visually conveys the trauma derived from these experiences, in all their cultural, social and psychological facets/aspects, even the most intimate. Sewing becomes a symbolic gesture, a means to express, at one and the same time, both her pain and her having overcome it.
The exhibition is complemented by a performance of Attraversa il confine Across the Boundary by Zoya Shokoohi, an artist whose art investigates the peculiarities of contemporary life in the western, globalised world and asks herself about the position that, as she has left her country, has taken on a personal aspect. In particular, her works offer a critical look at the micro-utopias, the realities of the contemporary art system and contemporary culture. The fil rouge of her production is a constant reminder to spectators to become participants in her works - experiences that are both collective and self-reflexive. 


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