DUNCAN MACASKILL – AMIR NIKRAVAN: Vigo @ Saatchi Gallery, London

1 - 19 April 2019
Vigo @ Saatchi Gallery
Duke of York HQ, Kings Road, Chelsea, London


Nikravan creates hybrid objects which fuse elements of painting, photography and sculpture, drawing from architectural lineages that range from the modernist Case Study houses, to the Orientalist public buildings of Edward Durell Stone, and the vernacular styles and finishes of the anonymous–often immigrant–builders of his native Los Angeles.


This small selection of his work, exhibited at Saatchi, uses the Stuart Building in Pasadena, California as a point of reference. The Stuart Building was designed by Modernist architect Edward Durrell Stone in the 1950s, and was criticized at the time of its construction, for reintroducing classical elements and ornamentation– specifically Persian architectural elements–into Modernist architecture. Nikravans sculptures similarly collapse the perceived boundaries between Western and Eastern design. It challenges the Western-centric approach to modernity, one that sets the supposedly Western values of rationality through purity and simplicity in opposition to the perceived Eastern values of spirituality through intuition and ornamentation; entwining identity in his ability to amalgamate the two cultures into these physical structures. 


Amir Nikravan (b. 1983) is an Iranian-Mexican-American artist based in Los Angeles. He has held previous solo exhibitions at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles (2018, 2014); Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York (2017); and Jonathan Viner, London (2015).





MacAskill’s postcards have taken many forms over the last 30 years. This exhibition focuses on his longitude and latitude cards, designed to be posted to the artist or selected recipient from the grid reference stamped on the front by a willing volunteer or collaborator. Some bare incidentals mark the journeys these objects have taken or the deliberate intervention of the sender. Some play games with the recipient. One in particular, MacAskill’s ‘chance’ postcard has an address on each side and where it is delivered is undecided by the artist and left to fate. 


The statements on these cards are anagrams of ARTIST IN RESIDENCE, reconfigured to other meanings. MacAskill’s dyslexia mean that words and numbers form patterns rather than having direct meaning, a game he has been playing since he was a child at school. He uses these anagrams deliberately, such as DIE IN RINSE SCATTER or CIDER IS INTENSE ART, dancing between comical and sinister provocations. Privately, he reminds himself that for a moment in time, his creations began a new lease of life in residence of another location, in the hands of others.  


MacAskill uses the creation and mailing of postcards as a ritual to mark time and place. Of the thousands of postcards Macaskill has sent in his lifetime, ranging from objects- clippings from his beard, flip flops, and encased rubber gloves  (from a time where you could post anything with a label) to the cohesive and obsessive labelling of his ‘longitude and latitude’ postcards – these cards have become part of his identity, and his everyday art practice.  


Another part of his post card manoeuvring are his collaged cards- every morning he picks up a free newspaper and carefully cuts out shapes and abstracted imagery. These he reassembles into highly aesthetic collages that he sends off to the people he thinks will enjoy them. He likes the notion of giving art and affecting a person’s life, contributing to their happiness that day. The result is an intriguing composition of time, place and human experience. 


Duncan MacAskill was born in Clydebank and studied drawing and painting at Glasgow School of Art. He lives and works in London.


For more information on Amir Nikravan or Duncan MacAskill  please contact info@vigogallery.com