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Raha Raissnia creates two series of charcoal drawings for exhibition at the Drawing Center
Raha Raissnia, Alluvius 12, 2016. Mixed media on paper, 12 x 19 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Raha Raissnia: Alluvius, the first solo museum exhibition of work by the Iranian-American artist Raha Raissnia, contextualizes the artist’s drawings as part of her broader consideration of photographic and filmic representation. Raissnia grew up in Tehran during the 1978–79 revolution, and she often accompanied her father, an amateur photographer, on trips to the city center to document mass protests against the Shah. Mirroring this early experience in her current work, Raissnia surreptitiously continues to take portraits and photographs of everyday life as a course of habit. For The Drawing Center, Raissnia created the two series of densely-composed charcoal drawings on view—entitled Alluvius (2016) and Canto (2017)—by referencing images sourced from her personal archive of both original and found photographs and film, ranging from photographic slides of mosque architecture to iPhone films taken on walks through Manhattan and snapshots of friends, family, and strangers. Rather than create direct copies, Raissnia intuitively abstracts her sources, laboriously rephotographing and drawing each image, transferring it between paper and celluloid, until it becomes unrecognizable and its meaning unsettled. Raha Raissnia: Alluvius engages drawing as a way to revisit, question, and change the images we use to construct personal, cultural, and national identity. Organized by Amber Harper, Assistant Curator.

Raha Raissnia: Alluvius will be accompanied by a series of live film-performances. For each program, the artist will interpolate multiple projections, including hand-painted slides and film, to create a flickering hybrid sequence.

Raha Raissnia was born in Tehran in 1968. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented by Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York; Ab/Anbar Gallery, Tehran; Galeria Marta Cervera, Madrid; and Galerie Xippas, Paris. She has also presented films and film-performances in New York at the Whitney Museum of America Art; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; The Museum of Modern Art; MoMA PS1, Queens; and ISSUE Project Room, Brooklyn. Her work was included in Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador (2016) and the 56th Venice Biennale, All the World’s Futures (2015) as well as recent group exhibitions at Dirimart Gallery, Istanbul; Heaven Gallery, Chicago; Mana Contemporary, Jersey City; Art Centre Pasquart, Biel, Switzerland; Knig Galerie, Berlin; Petzel Gallery, New York; and Microscope Gallery, Brooklyn, among many others. Raissnia was a finalist for the Abraaj Group Art Prize in 2017.

To accompany Raha Raissnia: Alluvius, The Drawing Center produced a broadsheet publication with an essay by Assistant Curator Amber Harper and images of the drawings created by Raissnia for the exhibition.

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