Panteha Abareshi: Impaired Erotics
24 May – 3 Aug 2024

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In arresting sculptural gestures, the American artist Panteha Abareshi (b. 1999, they/them) employs the experience of living in a chronically ill and disabled body, and its associated stigma.

From their position as a wheelchair user living with an incurable blood disease, Abareshi exposes how the sick body is also one of continuous (medical) observation— and thus objectification. In their new series of sculptural works, created specifically for O—Overgaden, Abareshi, in their own words, unapologetically unfolds “the collision of violence and tenderness in caregiving to the sick body.”

Through braces, belts, straps, and medical tubing, the support and treatment of the body is made visible as a jarring domain of restraint and domination. In brief, Abareshi points to how caregiving, whether in the hospital or the home, can itself contain violence; how systemic, societal “help” also cages and disciplines the sick or disabled body, relegating it to a position of obligatory gratitude and servility, rendering it disempowered in its medicalization and care.

Through elements such as leg-spreading orthoses or a gaping mouth mechanically forced open, Impaired Erotics questions the complex dynamics within caregiving, including implications of domination and submission, towards a taboo fetishization of the disabled body. The installations explore eroticism and pleasure around the disabled subject, drawing critically and aesthetically from “Crip Porn”—a highly charged visual material typically kept within hidden spaces.

The double-edged exhibition title, Impaired Erotics, on the one hand critically examines how the crip body is often misunderstood as one with a broken or “impaired” access to intimacy or “erotics.” On the other hand, Abareshi employs the title as a manifest insisting on an Impaired Erotics—an erotics of the crip body beyond this stigma of inability.

The exhibition thus confronts the volatile vulnerability and dependency inherent to support structures—whether it be a mobility aid, clinical devices, or human care— casting light upon the different notions of violence that shapes the othering of the disabled body.

Panteha Abareshi (b. 1999, Montreal, CA) is an artist and scholar based in Los Angeles.Abareshi’s work has recently been shown in solo and group exhibitions at venues including Kunsthall Trondheim (2023); MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2022); Kunsthaus Zürich (2022); and Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (2021).

Accessibility:

O—Overgaden is a venue included in the Danish Conservation Act. Currently, O—Overgaden offers wheelchair access through its main entrance with a mobile stair climber, while working on obtaining permission and funds to install a permanent stairlift and elevator to create better access to the kunsthalle’s listed building.

The exhibition is supported by

  • Politiken-Fonden