An In Conversation between Abbas Akhavan and Sarah Elson, Founder, Launch Pad took place in London on October 5th 2021. The Conversation was organised in conjunction with Akhavan's solo exhibition Curtain Call, Variations on a Folly at Chisenhale Gallery, London.
Akhavan’s oeuvre ranges from site-specific ephemeral installations to drawing, video, sculpture and performance. His research has been deeply influenced by the sites where he works, and often he categorizes such works as “studies” or “variations” in order to foreground their speculative and open-ended qualities. Site-specific in nature, the work is often framed by a network of architectural, economic, natural, and social forces that shape the conception and experience of art within a given space.
Abbas Akhavan (b. 1977, Tehran, Iran) lives and works in Montreal, Canada. Selected exhibitions include cast for a folly, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco (2019); Beautiful world, where are you?, Liverpool Biennial (2018); not titled, Museum Villa Stuck, Munich (2017) and But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2016). Akhavan is the recipient of Kunstpreis Berlin (2012); The Abraaj Group Art Prize (2014) and the Sobey Art Award (2015).
Established in 2014 by patron and collector, Sarah Elson, Launch Pad is a privately funded non-profit art platform based in London. Initially focused on commissioning site specific works for Elson’s private residence, the programme has since expanded to host commissions in New York and Shanghai. In addition to Launch Pad, Elson has established an International Artist Residency at Princeton University where she serves on the Advisory Council of the museum, and a fellowship for UK-based craft artists at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, where she served on the board.
In 2017, Launch Pad LaB, an artists’ residency program, was established in Charente, France, with fellow patron and collector, Veronique Parke. In 2020, Launch Pad initiated a Conversation series bringing together artists and practitioners from different disciplines with mutual interests and intersecting lines of enquiry.