Rex Delafkaran: Hot Crop
October 28, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Using various light and heating sources, interdisciplinary sculpture, and tight-cropped performances for the camera, Hot Crop is an exercise in the purity of technical failure and in the contradictions embedded in the language of identity. The room itself attempts a loop, the cooling hum of fans performing alongside the heat and the objects in the room.
Tanning lights attempt to change a tile, a heat lamp ventures to “fire” unfired ceramic bowls; on surreptitiously installed TV screens are performances for the camera conceived with hypothetical audiences and metaphors that exaggerate their absurdity: perhaps on the other side of the camera is 12th century Iranian poet Hafez; hyperbolic Rumi poetry is distilled into abject sculptural assemblages.
Who is the audience for our failures, and what do those failures teach us? How does the meaning of an image or thought change when it is in part cropped? What can we decipher and what do we mythologize around these cropped understandings?
Hot Crop settles into narratives embedded in our identities and plays with the intertwined constructs of language, utility, and legibility. Hot Crop intimately targets the tenderness of my own identities; it combines ancient storytelling, personal narrative, and abstraction, hybridizing and toying with them through the specificity of materials like fans, heat bulbs, handmade ceramics, a phone, and a tongue.
Rex Delafkaran is an interdisciplinary artist and dancer from California, based in Washington, D.C. Delafkaran holds a degree in Ceramics and Performance Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. Using movement and objects she explores ideas of failure and hybridity among bodies, objects, identities and language. Delafkaran has exhibited and staged performances at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, DC), Panoply Performance Lab (Brooklyn, NY), Platform Art Fair (Athens, GR), Southern Exposure Gallery (San Francisco, CA), and the Textile Museum (Washington, DC) among others. She is the Co-founder of but, also an artist run space that sells artist made products, produces exhibitions with a mission of modeling transparent work structures, and empowering artists to self sustain and experiment. Delafkaran makes her work at STABLE Arts studio and exhibits and performs nationally and internationally.
The foundation of my practice is rooted in methods and acts of translation to discover hybrid forms and functions, abstract languages, and explore narratives of Iranian, American and queer identities, real and invented. Through frameworks of hybridity my work translates ideas physically through live performance, multimedia documentation, ceramic, sculpture, and dance while reconsidering the literal and cultural functions of objects and bodies.
In my work I expand the connections between identities and the implicit failures in handmade objects, functional ready-made objects, and the language of dance. When deployed in concert these failures form questions and have the possibility to invent new ways of understanding. From the tensions between objects like cinder blocks and crafted ceramic vessels, or a ceramic dildo alongside an imaginary flag, the question that arises is the aim. My practice settles into divergence in order to make evident the intertwining of identity, utility and legibility.
I use interdisciplinary language to investigate humor, formal relationships, and discomfort in the results. In what ways do we translate our personal and historical archives into our bodies, and in what ways do haptic translations deepen and hybridize existing knowledge? Reconciling and constructing personal identity challenges notions of authenticity and cultural failure, and affects the understanding of legibility. I am interested in what languages and materials we have at our disposal to make meaning. Where does the visceral and emotional mythologize utility and identity?
Image Credit: Rex Delafkaran, Hot Bowl (Swallowing the Sun, Rumi), 2020