10 October to 16 November

Soheila Sokhanvari, presents new works of egg tempera paintings, installations and the sculpture “The Private Dancer” in 'Addicted To Love' at Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery, London.

For more information, visit the Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery website here.

Subscribing to the school of magical realism that enhance reality in which the banal and everyday take on new life and meaning by being imbued with an elevated focus, the works also belies the complex political undertones of her work, allowing her to take a step back and examine events from her native country through the lens of distance and time. She investigates the concept of collective trauma as an experience that can be told through the narratives of individuals, focusing on reimagining of female Iranian celebrity photographs. These women were the popstars of Iran’s entertainment industry, who were forced to flee their country or abandon their art after the revolution of 1979 radically changed the country’s culture. Visually striking and woven with complex political and cultural narratives, the exhibition investigates our impulse and desire to be seduced by imagery, whilst reviving Iran’s repressed and forgotten female stars.


In the making of her paintings, Sokhanvari refuses manufactured products, instead mixing egg yolk with high grade pigments for paint. The use of calf vellum as a canvas possesses connotations of religious sacrifice, relating to the sacrifice of the individual as the artist's practise explores portraiture as a form of simultaneous oppression and empowerment for the subject. Notably, Sokhanvari has dedicated three portraits and a sculpture installation to the actor/singer Googoosh, who famously became a fashion icon by embracing dressing up as a means of liberation. In the installation Private Dancer, Gagoosh appears enlivened through a hologram dancing inside a sculpture to one of her greatest hits Khalvat. However, her endless dance symbolises her isolation and inaccessibility, whilst also highlighting the tension between public and private identities. 

Layering collective and personal experiences, Addicted to Love explores the lasting impact of trauma and the objectification of the individual through historical narratives that continue to reverberate in the present. Beyond her bright colours and dreamlike scenes, Sokhanvari’s work possesses a vivid and complex emotional range that invites a deep engagement with not only the image itself but also, wider political and cultural discussions.