Shahpour Pouyan: PTSD, 2014
The inspiration for this art collection comes from the therapeutic use of ceramics for individuals with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, and depression. The exhibition’s central focus consists of four groups of related ceramic objects, each presented on a separate table. The tables serve as both a structure for organisation and a surface for display, referencing various historical modes of object display, including painted still lives, scaled-down architectural models, and ancient artefact collections.
One table features a skyline of historical domes, each representing power structures from the iconic Pantheon in Rome to the planned but unrealised Welthauptstadt Germania in Berlin. Another table features six identical hemispherical domes, ranging in size from millimetres to meters, demonstrating the increasing destructive capacity of nuclear weapons throughout the twentieth century.
The sculptures, “failed objects,” introduce themes of containment, protection, vulnerability, fertility, and generation. These sculptures are less clear in function and more ambiguously gendered, playing with suggestions of nurturing and protection. “Failed objects” refer to ceramic abstract objects that portray the challenges that the artist faced when trying to convey the richness and complexity of Iran and the broader Middle East within the context of their new home in the US.
Installation view of the exhibition: PTSD, Lawrie Shabibi Gallery, Dubai, 2014