ew York, NY—Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to present a collaborative exhibition between filmmaker Shoja Azari and painter Shahram Karimi, on view from February 18th to March 26th, 2016. The Cold Earth Sleeps Below features eleven of the artists’ unique, hallmark video-paintings, portraying and exploring humanity’s relation to the natural landscape. The exhibition takes its title from the work of English poet Percy Shelley; the artists seek to revisit, in their own words, the contemporary relevance of “the paradoxical notion of beauty and the sublime that the Romantics fought to free from the clutch of utilitarian materialism, egoism, and the rational mind of the 18th century”.
About the artists
Shoja Azari (b 1958, Shiraz, Iran), filmmaker, and Shahram Karimi (b 1957, Shiraz, Iran), painter, although childhood friends, first collaborated in the early 2000’s in London and New York. Their collaborative work has been featured at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ (2013); with ArtAngel, London (2002); and in numerous galleries and festivals in London, Rome, Belgium, and New York.
Azari utilizes new media and film to confront themes such as gender, politics, and intercultural prejudice, mining visual culture to expose the boundaries of contemporary ideology. Azari’s work includes a series of short films, Windows (2005), which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Azari’s film Women Without Men, co-directed with his wife, Shirin Nashat, won the Silver Lion for best director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. His work has been featured at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2012); Haus der Kulteren, Berlin (2010); ICA, London (2010); MOMA, New York (2010); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); and the Havana Biennial (2009). He lives and works in New York.
Karimi, both painter and poet, employs an evocation of nostalgia to explore the dilemma of a bicultural Iranian subject, wedding his personal memories with a contemporary form, composing in Farsi verse as completes his paintings. Karimi’s solo exhibitions include the Museum Sieburg, Germany (1998 and 2010) and Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (2008). He has participated in group exhibitions at Chelsea Museum of Art, New York (2009); the Iranian Cultural Center, Los Angeles (2003); and the Istanbul Biennial (2003). Karimi lives and works between the United States and Germany.
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