Ali Dadgar: Disoriental

Opening April 2nd, 2022
On View Thru April 24th, 2022

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Installation Images

Public Opening:  April 2nd, 2022

All are welcome to attend the opening reception for Ali Dadgar:Disoriental at ADVOCARTSY’s West Hollywood gallery space. Both the artist and ADVOCARTSY founder and director, Roshi Rahnama, will be present.

Curatorial Statement

Over the past three decades, Oakland-based multimedia artist, Ali Dadgar, has explored universal themes of censorship, colonization, ‘otherness’, and identity filtered through his own Iranian and American experiences. Through autobiography and self-deprecation, Dadgar’s art maintains an undercurrent of dark humor which materializes in his juxtaposition of unexpected materials and sources that recontextualize the written word.

Working across multiple mediums and series simultaneously, Dadgar’s ideas take shape through performance and 2-dimensional mixed media art. He is deeply familiar with the conventions of printmaking and formal Western approaches to art, which he absorbs and upturns through his practice. Indicative of Dadgar’s prior experiences in theater and set design, there is always a performative element in his densely layered narratives – performance of identity troubles as well as cultural contradictions and conflict.

Dadgar often positions text as a key visual component yet he ushers it into a new dimension. If print culture represents the accumulated knowledge of a civilized society, Dadgar contends that its alteration might conjure up new meaning, binding literacy and illiteracy, knowledge and ignorance, artistic freedom and censorship. He overturns traditional narrative structures and opens up questions rather than prescribing answers.

Through a highly personal pastiche, Dadgar attempts to summon figures of otherness in a place filled with tradition, history, humor, and paradox. He continually challenges traditional understandings of art, as he layers symbols from Western and Persian histories, handwritten notes, photographs, his self-portrait and found materials from rugs to maps. These elements are manipulated either digitally or manually, through painting or drawing, and form a new visual language – one of redaction, remapping, and erasure.

Dadgar (b. 1962) received his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, in 1989 followed by an MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. He was a lecturer in the Department of Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley between 2006 and 2009 and is the recipient of multiple awards including the UC Berkeley Outstanding GSI Award, 2007. His work is placed in prominent private and public collections including the University of California, Berkeley Morrison Library.

Since the late 1980s, Dadgar has exhibited extensively in both solo and group exhibitions. As part of his artistic practice, he regularly collaborates with visual and performing artists in the Bay Area and has been a member of the Berkeley-based theater company, Darvag since 1988.

Artist Statement

Ali Dadgar’s Rugs series is an ongoing body of work produced over more than a decade. This series continues Dadgar’s exploration of cultural hegemonies, representation, and human relationships to systems of meaning approached through his Iranian and American experiences. His point of departure is the Persian rug, which he problematizes, observing it as a vehicle of memory intimately linked to his childhood yet also as an international symbol of political unrest and bourgeois society tainted with associations to child labor.

Long inspired by Iranian weaving traditions, Dadgar emancipates the Persian Rug from its decorative and functional purposes by way of dematerialization and recontextualization. Consistent with past works, Dadgar interferes with the surfaces of his symbolically charged materials – from the dictionary page to maps and rugs. Through a process of silk screen printing and stenciling, he reconfigures them, heightening the fragility of their fixed meaning. As a metaphor for the patterns in our lives, Dadgar’s purposeful erasure of the patterns on the rug disrupts the logical order, pointing to the instability of the value systems that shape our routines. As their design and traditional motifs transform beneath layers of thick paint and encrusted inks, the artist seeks to challenge dominant systems of meaning and in the context of the Persian rug, he interrogates the cultural value attributed to it.

Artist Biography

Over several decades, Oakland-based multimedia artist Ali Dadgar has explored universal themes of censorship, colonization, ‘otherness’, and identity filtered through his own Iranian and American experiences. Working across multiple mediums and series simultaneously, Dadgar’s ideas take shape through performance and 2-dimensional mixed media art. He is deeply familiar with the conventions of printmaking and formal Western approaches to art, which he absorbs and upturns through his practice. By layering historical symbols, handwritten notes, photographs, self-portraits, and found materials from rugs to maps, Dadgar’s art maintains an undercurrent of dark humor that strives to recontextualize the unexpected. These elements are manipulated either digitally or manually, through painting or drawing, and form a new visual language – one of redaction, remapping, and erasure. Through autobiography and self-deprecation, Dadgar summons figures of otherness in a place filled with tradition, history, humor, and paradox.

Dadgar (b. 1962) received his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, in 1989 followed by an MFA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley in 2007. He was a lecturer in the Department of Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley between 2006 and 2009 and is the recipient of multiple awards, including the UC Berkeley Outstanding GSI Award in 2007. His work has been placed in prominent private and public collections, including the University of California Berkeley Morrison Library.

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ADVOCARTSY is a contemporary art platform specializing in Iranian contemporary art.

ADVOCARTSY West Hollywood
434 N. La Cienega Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA
90048
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