“Royal Debris”
April 2–May 14, 2022

Gelare Khoshgozaran’s film installation Royal Debris (2022) is informed by her decade-long research about the shuttered former Embassy of Iran in Washington D.C. Located at 3005 Massachusetts Ave N.W., the vacant building embodies a contradiction: it is a ruin due to its deteriorating condition caused, in large part, by the ongoing US sanctions on Iran, and it is privileged with an exceptional protection thanks to its ‘foreign mission’ status. Taking the building’s symbolic and material status as its departure point, Khoshgozaran’s film is a rumination on borders, displacement and ruination through excursions into family history, architecture, poetry and contemporary art.

Royal Debris brings together several works that implicate the viewer in a continuous sense of displacement between a diasporic home and an institutional archive. A bespoke persian rug was designed to incorporate the flora and fauna foraged from in and around the buildings of the former Embassy and Consulate General of Iran, respectively in Washington DC and New York City. The style of the included Ottoman footstools were identified by Khoshgozaran from the archival photographs of the former embassy’s “Persian Room.” The viewing experience of the film is distorted by a custom designed chandelier hanging from the ceiling, creating a dispersive refraction of the moving image throughout the space of the gallery. The installation thinks through the production of a space that is conditioned by the limitations of an archive, its artificiality, and its simultaneous order and disorder.

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This project could not be possible without the support of: Hande Sever, Hugo Cervantes, Hailey Loman and Los Angeles Contemporary Archives, Aria Safar and Mehrshid Alai-Safar, Andrea Steves, Shiva Balaghi, Mona Kareem, Los Angeles String Quartet and Felix Vologanin, Azin Seraj, Jimena Sarno, Sina Fakour, Saeed Khoshgozaran and Parvaneh Madani, Alexandre Saden, Jake Viator, and musicians Ariana Solotoff, Enosh Kofler, Boryana Popova, and Mark Bassett.

The research for Royal Debris was supported by the Graham Foundation.

The project was funded, in part, by a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant.

Artspeak is a non-profit artist run centre established in 1986. The mandate of the gallery is to encourage a dialogue between visual art and writing. Artspeak actively contributes to cultural communities through our commitment to artists producing challenging, innovative work in diverse media, our affiliation with like-minded organizations, and the public interest we generate in contemporary art.

Artspeak is located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ First Nations.