Shahrzad Malekian

Rebellious Forms

19. Nov 2022 - 07. May 2023

Is it possible to play in an art museum? Under normal circumstances, out of consideration for the artwork on display, this is not something we would do. But what if the artwork is made to be used?

This exhibition at NONA is an art installation that invites children—and anyone who has ever been a child—to explore and work together in the spirit of free play. It consists of a group of sculptures in different colours, forms, materials, sizes, and weight. The exhibition explores the dynamic between the artworks and the participating spectators by creating several opportunities for play and interaction. The sculptures can be touched, carried, and used—to build, create combinations, or dress up—in and infinite number of variations. By inviting the audience to become active participants, the artist Shahrzad Malekian incorporates the bodies, knowledge, imagination, and creativity of the audience so that they become part of the artwork. The exhibition is a part of the ongoing art project Participatory Playground, which has been exhibited in different versions and situations in public spaces, kindergartens, and art institutions.

Shahrzad Malekian (b. 1983 in Iran, lives and works in Oslo) makes artworks that use the human body as a starting point. Her work takes the form of performance, video, and sculpture—often in combination. For Malekian the body is both a medium and a tool to explore social, cultural, and political attitudes, norms, and structures. She uses strategies such as participation and collaboration to explore performativity and interaction, at art institutions and in the public sphere.

The exhibition is a part of an exhibition series aimed especially at children and young people at Stavanger Art Museum. Under the umbrella NONA we have invited several contemporary artists to develop a project that uses play as the overall theme and explores the nature of participation, collaboration, and performativity in a museum context.

Looking to visit the exhibition?
Children are welcome accompanied by an adult. Take the opportunity to join in with the child’s creative exploration of the exhibition. We encourage you to be considerate of the artworks—and even more so of each other. In order to create a valuable experience for the visitors there is a limited number of places. You can continue your visit at the workshop Studio Nona, which offers activities developed by the artist.

The artist would like to thank Maïna Joner and Eli Mai Huang Nesse for their contribution to the exhibition. Thank you also to the museum volunteers Nina Eiken, Edda Wangsholm and Elsa Fosse.

The exhibition is generously supported by the City of Stavanger.

Photo: Eivind Egeland (last page), Oddbjørn Erland Aarstad (this page)