Nairy Baghramian explores inherited forms and concepts from the history of art in order to address issues of functionality, decoration, abstraction and feminism. Her sculptures, made from a wide range of materials including steel, silicon, resin and leather, bring art historical references into the realm of the subjective; they are dismantled and recombined with human physiology and the principles of interior design. The result offers a re-reading of the legacy of Minimalism and Surrealism in the shape of protuberances and cavities, lumps and spills, organs and body parts. Baghramian has often reflected on the incessant cycle of aesthetic-object production, cultivating an interest in marginalized art forms and spaces that are often considered territory of the “feminine”. Instability is also a recurrent theme in her work that becomes evident in the use of tenuous and flimsy supports to hold her sculptures, or in how she displays them, dangling or leaning her pieces, always on the brink of collapse. The strength of Baghramian’s practice lies precisely in revisiting the oft-overlooked and the delicate, using these tropes as a point of departure for sculptures that are aware of their own fragility while comfortably holding sway over the exhibition space.
Baghramian’s most important exhibitions include: Scruff of the Neck (Supplements), Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, Switzerland (2016); Hand Me Down, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2015); Nairy Baghramian: Fluffing the Pillows, MIT Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, United States (2013); Retainer, Sculpture Center, New York, United States (2013); Fluffing the Pillows, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Germany (2012); Butcher, Barber, Angler & Others, Studio Voltaire, London, United Kingdom (2009); Affairs: A semiotic house that was never built, New Art Association Aachen, Aachen, Germany (2008); The Walker’s Day Off, Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, Baden-Baden, Germany (2008); Everlasting layers of ideas, images, feelings, have fallen upon your brain softly as light. Each succession has seemed to bury all that went before. And yet, in reality, not one has been extinguished, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Nuremberg, Germany (2007); It Is Not at Home, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2006).
Furthermore, she has participated in group shows at the following institutions: Punta della Dogana, Venice, Italy (2015); Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Victoria, Australia (2012); Kunsthaus Dresden, Dresden, Germany (2012); Kunsthalle Nümberg, Nümberg, Germany (2012); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2011); Museum Ludwig, Köln, Germany (2010); Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Canada (2010); Museum Weserburg, Bremen, Germany (2009); Kunsthall Bergen, Bergen, Norway (2009); Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom (2008), among others.
She has also participated in the following biennials and festivals: Kyoto International Festival of Contemporary Culture, Kyoto, Japan (2015); The 8th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2014); The Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, Glasgow, Ireland (2012); 45th International Venice Biennial, Venice, Italy (2011); The 5th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, Germany (2008).
Nairy Baghramian currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.