5 - 22 January 2018

Ab-Anbar presents Aerosols, the first solo exhibition of Iranian artist Tanaz Modabber at the gallery, showcasing a selection of her recent works encompassing her spatial point of view. 


Scattering or coalescing in lofty currents, aerosols—the microscopic particle matter adrift in the atmosphere—exist in constant states of expansion and diffusion. Defying and yet defined by gravity, they scale their surroundings in multiple senses: reaching ever-higher heights, forming residual layers over landscapes, bringing into relational perspective their power of magnitude, etcetera. Exhibiting such shifting senses of scale, artist Tanaz Modabber works to imbue physical form with the ephemeral trace of movement, taking prescribed notation as grounds for unleashing energies. While aerosols by nature resist static suspension in time and motion, the latest body of work by Modabber proffers a delicate formulation of what such complex systems can transpose when observed on the level of one-to-one, attuned to their immediate reception. Inhabiting all four stories of gallery Ab-Anbar in the artist’s hometown of Tehran, the exhibition Aerosols marks a moment of return in an artistic trajectory that increasingly unfolds to be folded anew. For the first time, the Berlin-based Iranian artist not only stages but also constructively creates work in the city of her youth. In this, Aerosols as a whole presents work that is localized and yet untethered. 


Tanaz Modabber, born in Tehran, Iran, studied at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture and a Master’s degree in Architecture. She currently lives and works in Berlin as an architect and artist. Her practice can be seen as an operational inquiry into the systems around us, those that affect and change us, those that push our buttons or play our strings. Her practice poetically composes atop an inherent questioning of the mechanics of any structure. The revolution of 1979, followed by the eight-year war with Iraq, and the subsequent transformation of the country’s natural and urban landscapes have had a great impact on the references that inspire Modabber today. Witnessing the resultant migration and detachment of many people from their homeland, Aerosols might otherwise speak to a very personal journey of diffuse association, moments of building up to surge and break apart, to gather again, to reflect and absorb, to permeate, to breathe. 


Incorporating a sense of scale that fluxes between physical and conceptual limits, Modabber’s practice consistently holds a measured understanding of form in its simultaneity; hers is a vantage that begs a micro and macro contextualization. It pictures the immediate, and yet captures the expansive. It is both a fractal and a finite system, and yet often a fractured system is exposed, or a fragment thereof. The work is a map. It is navigable. There is a rubric in place. It is erased. Forces are at play, one line acting against the next, reacting, adjusting. No matter the medium, whether graphite on paper, cast or torqued aluminum, or joined brass and rubber, scalable patterning and interpretive fluidity reign. This harnessing power of vital forces makes Modabber’s practice one of instigative interplay. A focal point surfaces in understanding the singular amidst the whole, how part elements counter one another, take on refractory movements, careening, traveling in tandem, dissipating, and, yet, ultimately deriving a complex system at large. 

A catalogue accompanying Aerosols features the essay “Diffuse Scales” by Berlin-based curator and arts editor Cassandra Edlefsen Lasch, which elaborates on the specific works within the exhibition.