• Haig Aivazian: All of the Lights
    Haig Aivazian
    Karsten Lund
    The Renaissance Society, Chicago
    Feb 06, 2021 to Mar 21, 2021
    The Renaissance Society

Haig Aivazian, "1440 Sunsets Per 24 Hours,” Installation view at Ming Contemporary Art Museum (McaM), Shanghai, 2017. Courtesy the artist and McaM, Shanghai

The Renaissance Society presents a solo exhibition by Beirut-based artist Haig Aivazian, curated by Karsten Lund. For years, Aivazian has been deeply interested in uses of lighting in public space, deploying systems of illumination as lenses for examining broader structures of power and control. Aivazian’s work across video, sculpture, and performance combines rigorous research with a poetic sensibility, weaving together a multitude of sites, events, and ideas. In doing so, he traces “speculative genealogies” of complex global phenomena such as mass surveillance or predictive policing as they unfold in the designed environment. This exhibition centers on All of the Lights, a new film commissioned in partnership with Mophradat, alongside iterations of existing works adapted for the context of the Renaissance Society. Incorporating a range of source material, these works explore the ways in which the gaze of the law—and the instruments and strategies it deploys—affects those it monitors.

Haig Aivazian holds a master’s in fine art from Northwestern University and is a Skowhegan alumnus. His work has been exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2019); Home Works 8, Beirut (2019); Chiado 8, Lisbon (2018); the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2018); Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, United Kingdom (2017); Mcam, Shanghai (2017); Kadist, Paris (2017); the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2015); the Montréal and Marrakech Biennales (2016); and the Istanbul and Venice Biennales (2015). His writing has been featured by publications including INCITE Journal of Experimental Media, Ibraaz, Afterall, Manifesta Journal, Arab Studies Journal, and Bidoun.

Karsten Lund is curator at the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, where he works on a range of exhibitions, public programs, and publications. He has recently organized solo shows with David Maljković (2019) and LaToya Ruby Frazier (2019, cocurated with Solveig Øvstebø) and the large group exhibition Unthought Environments (2018). In 2017, Lund initiated Intermissions, an ongoing series of performances staged in the empty gallery in between exhibitions. Lund has previously held positions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago. He is the editor of Irena Haiduk: Spells (Sternberg Press, 2015).

The Renaissance Society, founded in 1915, is widely acclaimed here and abroad as one of the premier museums for leading edge contemporary art from around the world and one of the oldest institutions of contemporary art in Chicago. Through exhibitions, commissions, publications, and educational programs, it promotes the work of artists and movements that question, redefine, and expand the aesthetic boundaries of the visual arts.