Kour Pour - New Homes, New Places: London, UK
Gallery 1957, London is proud to announce a solo exhibition of works by Kour Pour (b. 1987, UK), running from March 17 to April 21, 2022. The exhibition marks his first in the country of his birth.
Based in Los Angeles, artist Kour Pour’s creative processes, source material, and painting techniques stem from a wide range of cultures and histories. His experience as an immigrant and biography are the foundation of his work, reflecting his transitory heritage; Pour is of British and Iranian descent and grew up in a mixed-race household – but the artist is also newly American, having been granted citizenship during the pandemic. As a child, Pour spent considerable time in his father's carpet shop, memories of which have become a central component of his practice. These cultural threads inform his work and add to a wide range of visual languages; the interplay of form and content becomes a way for Pour to convey meaning in his art. He draws inspiration from visual traditions that include Persian carpets, medieval Islamic manuscripts, Chinese paintings, and ukiyo-e prints, among others.
Pour’s creative point of view disrupts simplistic notions of cultural hybridity, appropriation, and originality. New works on view at Gallery 1957 see the artist creating silkscreen prints based on imagery from illustrated texts of the Persian epic Shahnameh [The Book of Kings] by the poet Ferdowsi (977-1010 CE). Presenting the works with the text boxes redacted – a comment on the artist’s inability to speak his mother tongue and the universal limitations of language – the shape of the canvases eschew the art-historical square. Called ‘extractions’, the series expands on the artist’s ongoing interest in mixing visual culture across boundaries and borders, with the ‘redacted’ pieces reminiscent of the shaped canvases of American Minimalists such as Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. In other works, Pour explores the cultural exchange of tiger imagery across China, Korea, and Japan, creating and recreating works inspired by different contexts across bright canvases reminiscent of Western Pop art.
As an immigrant who has lived between worlds, the notion of home is both compelling and chimeric for Pour, the artist explains, “When someone asks me where home is, the answer is multi-layered. And this experience of holding multiple identities and truths becomes a part of my art. I’m working to show how intertwined histories and the movement of cultures are directly linked to all of our personal biographies. This exhibition is sort of a homecoming – I left the UK at age 17, and I’m returning 17 years later.”
Looking beyond the African continent towards global diasporas, the show marks an expansion of Gallery 1957’s program. Founder Marwan Zakhem comments: “Kour’s works continue the artist’s multifaceted interrogations into concepts of belonging, cultural exchange and art and social history; these issues have always been central concerns to Gallery 1957 and the artists we represent. As we grow globally, we wish to build these dialogues with an increasingly international network of collaborators and are excited to have Pour - an artist who himself straddles countries and continents - at the forefront.”