The Third Line presents Safina, the final chapter of Ala Ebtekar’s solo exhibitions trilogy. This project continues Ala’s commitment to folding space and time onto itself through painting, drawing, and premieres a new installation that shifts harmonies of landscape and horizon.
In the titular work Safina, the book is examined not only as an art object, but as a vehicle to complicate notions of inertia and travel between space and time. Safina is an oblong shaped manuscript, containing a compendium of potent knowledge fields: history, philosophy, astronomy, and most often, poetry.
Safina’s etymology and current linguistic use leans towards several variants of a vessel designed for transportation: a ship, aircraft and even spacecraft. The centerpiece of the exhibition is an asymmetrical heptagonal platform that serves as topography for a suite of safinas, newly produced artist books, and never before seen reclaimed materials. Arranged in a manner to form new taxonomies and constellations of meaning, this Safina revisits the existing model, now displaying a new terrain in tandem with new works.
As a central contour, with peaks and valleys, Safina gently displays Ala’s long-standing interest in the depiction of space and time. The structure easily could be both fifteenth and twenty-fifth century, as a spaceship simultaneously landed and moving. Culminating altogether past and future, speculative and impending, Safina presents new portals to understanding the potentials of these vessels, as they were physically kept close to the heart, and here an object that travels in and between the most potent of landscapes.
Ala Ebtekar (b. 1978) is an artist who works between his native San Francisco Bay Area and Tehran, Iran. Born in Berkeley, California to Iranian activist/artist/architect parents, from an early age, he developed an affinity towards various notions of in-between-ness, which has led him to explore the many spaces amongst the two cultures, both shared and separated, momentary and boundless. Such experiences have evolved into a dynamic practice that disquiets dominant notions of identity and complicates cultural difference. For the past twenty years, he has situated his art practice as a multitude of spaces between, and even above.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)