AYAN FARAH: Vigo Gallery, London

21 November - 3 December 2012
Vigo Gallery

Vigo gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of paintings by Ayan Farah. This is the Swedish-Somali artist's first solo show in London, and her first with Vigo Gallery.


Ayan Farahs output is defined by her interest in the provisional and the ephemeral. Though the work she makes is mainly wall based and loosely defined within painting, it stretches over several mediums and often is a result of the application of paint or other substances to various unusual fabrics more often found in fashion, clothing and bedding, which have been effected by chemical or organic change. Indeed, work is often not painted at all, instead undergoing an elaborate process of digging down, dying and sun bleaching. For instance the work Eldfell was part of a sleeping bag dug down for six months at the foot of the volcano Eldfell in Heimaey, Iceland. The ash emitted was used to stain the material and to mark the anniversary of its last eruption.


In more recent work Farah has extended her tools from natural sunlight and environmental sources to the use of unconventional technologies such as UV-light from an old fashioned sun bed purchased on ebay which when applied to the materials and cocktail of organic and synthetic paint and fluids causes brilliantly subtle and unexpected results and the work balances on its control of chance. Her oeuvre shifts from the barely noticeable deliberate marks to the circumstantial elements that appear with time.

These paintings are often metaphorical or suggestive. Ultimately her interest is in abstraction and non- graspable elements, such as light, that appear in the present but refuse to be pinned down, - the shifting state of things. The delicate nature of the work allows it to become part of space and material. The state of the material shifts as the light changes throughout the day, revealing folds, layers, lucidity and opaqueness.


While supporting the translucent material, the stretcher becomes integrated in the work and the physical space it occupies. In contrast to the time consuming process of sun and UV bleaching, Farah's physical application process is that of controlling the ingredients of her endeavors and repositioning their results by subtle nuances of overlap, seams, and folds.

Thus these works exist in the border of the deliberate and the accidental. They are form-full and at the same time formless, finished and unfinished and their process goes on.


Born in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, Ayan Farah graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in 2006 and most recently from the Royal College of Art in 2012. She has shown her paintings, videos and sound installations in Scandinavia and the UK.