press release

Reza Aramesh’s practice incorporates elements of performance, photography, film and installation art and is emphatically site-specific. Taking up and reflecting upon aspects of its settings and contents, each work creates intriguing and often unsettling dialogues between different cultural contexts, systems of power and contrasting approaches to sexuality. You were the dead, their’s was the future is a specially commissioned performance for the Barbican Art Gallery’s current exhibition Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now.

The work, composed of a series of carefully choreographed live tableaux, infiltrates and inflects the various layers of meaning in the exhibition. Each tableau, constituted by actors, enters into a particular relationship with both the works on display and the viewers moving through the exhibition space. In a room devoted to drawings by Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Auguste Rodin, JMW Turner and Pablo Picasso, a naked man lies underneath an exhibition vitrine, half of his body hidden from view. Works by Jeff Koons will be confronted by two men, lying as though asleep or dead, one wearing a mask cast from the other’s face.

Some actors will be nude while others will be clothed in military fatigues. In the largest gallery, a group of uniformed men will lie awkwardly on the ground, surrounding a nude female actor reciting extracts from the letters of Anaïs Nin, John Cleland and DH Lawrence. Under the staircase a nude man will be partially covered by a white sheet, echoing the style and pose of an ancient Roman sculpture. These scenarios, rich in visual and cultural associations, but open to individual readings, will offer visitor new and intriguing readings of Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now. Exhibition runs until 27 January 2008

Reza Aramesh
You were the dead, their’s was the future
Specially commissioned performance for Seduced: Art and Sex from Antiquity to Now
22 November 2007, 6.30pm, Barbican Art Gallery