exhibition archive


Vanguard Prize Winner 2021-22

*Exhibition postponed
New dates will be announced in due course.


Dialogues logoAmir Dehghan image
Amir Dehghan, "آزادی" (Freedom), text in ash, acrylic, steel, sapele frame, 60 x 40cm, 2022. Courtesy of the artist.

Chelsea Space, in collaboration with Camberwell College of Arts, is delighted to host an exhibition of new work by Amir Dehghan, winner of The Vanguard Prize2021/22.

Amir Dehghan: Provocation is an exhibition of visual abstractions formed from distant realities that aim to provoke and disrupt the political terrain of Contemporary Iran. Dehghan’s work delves into the mind’s eye of political prisoners of the 1979 revolution, recreating scenes of violence and referencing the continued study of instruments of torture. The artworks are products of Dehghan’s research into corporal punishment used in Iran since 1979; questioning the desensitization of individuals on both ends of the gun, lash or stick, and how this provokes an increase in political or religious force. Provocation seeks to display the physicalities of a censored terrain. This exhibition opens previously closed doors, by presenting forensic recreations of tortured memories, alongside gestural paintings echoing the methods used in tyranny. Data is at the centre of this exhibition: the 2002 Penal Code of Iran is referenced in multiple works, alongside abstracted stories from within the high-walled Iranian border.

Amir Dehghan’s practice takes the form of installations, paintings, sculptures, robotics, photographs and sound works. An Iranian political artist and the son of an ex-political prisoner, he grew up in exile, using the language of art to continue his legacy and represent a censored people. Internally, Amir's practice defines his identity; it is an exploration into his culture and an attempt to find out where he stands as a British/Iranian. Outwardly, he attempts to introduce a dialogue that focuses on the issues within Iran, by referencing a culturally familiar gesture from the western perspective beside an artefact highlighting the same gesture that might contrast within Iranian politics and society.

Amir Dehghan graduated from the BA (Hons) Photography at Camberwell College of Arts, University of the Arts London in 2021. Recent exhibitions include Radical Residency, Unit One, London (2022), Amir Dehghan: To Self-Exile (Solo), Plataforma, Barcelona (2022), Amir Dehghan: To Protest, Harlesden High Street (Solo), London (2022). Amir Dehghan lives and works in London.

The Vanguard Prize allows Vanguard Court to help new artists grow and develop and reinforces Vanguard's strong links with Camberwell College of Arts. The prize, launched in 2010, is for graduating students of the College. The winner is offered a year's free studio residence at Vanguard Court along with ongoing mentoring and support from Camberwell College of Arts to help with the development of their personal and professional practice. Previous winners include: Murray O'Grady, Philip Li a.k.a Le Fil, Philip Booth, Lauren Allen, Alexander Devereux, Queenie Clark, Billy Crosby, Rosie Grace Ward, Gwenllian Spink and Niccolo Binda.


Special thanks to:
Amir Dehghan
Jonathan Shaw
Vanguard Court
Professor Daniel Sturgis
Maia Conran
Duncan Wooldridge
Dr Karen Di Franco, Gaia Giacomelli, Clare Mitten, Chelsea Space


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