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Presence and Absence by Atefeh Farajolahzadeh

Opening Reception: Saturday, November 18th, from 6-9 PM
Exhibition Runs: November 18 -
December 23, 2023

Presence and Absence by Atefeh Farajolahzadeh combines video and light installations that express the experience of being in between, the journey of transition, and the complex mix of presence and absence in the context of migration. By incorporating sound, light, and imagery, this work aims to create a multi-sensory experience for viewers, inviting them to contemplate the meaning of home, memory, and the personal and collective struggles intertwined within these themes. Her work oscillates between abstraction and representation, fiction and nonfiction.


My work is driven by personal experiences as an immigrant, facing the state of suspension between the new place and my country of origin. This experience of longing drove me to wander in the city, countryside, and nature in search of a place in which to be grounded. -Atefeh Farajolahzadeh


Farajolahzadeh will exhibit two multi-media installations for Presence and Absence and a collection of three video works that exist in the same narrative. Pictured in the first image, Remnants of Home #1, and the second image, Where The Boats Go #2, along with the video works, she explores the multifaceted dimensions of migration, which is interwoven with the experience of loss, discovery, and the search for place – whether it is physical, psychological, or both. Video narratives require viewers to spend time with the work, and Farajolahzadeh intends to engage them with the experience of being in between in a more immersive way. Atefeh’s work creates a psychological space that mirrors the inner state of thoughts and emotions.  Her work evolves through the layering of images that symbolize place and the symbolic iconography of home woven into a continuous cycle of illumination and darkness through programmed lighting arrays. These layers immerse the audience into a more visceral experience - symbolizing hope, despair, fear, and the constant struggle for survival, allowing viewers to contemplate between the seen and unseen.


Atefeh Farajolahzadeh is an Iranian immigrant interdisciplinary artist who incorporates photography, video, installation, and writing into her practice, currently living and working in Bloomington, Indiana. Her work explores the concept of place, psychogeography, and liminality, with a particular focus on migration. Atefeh holds an M.F.A. in photography from Columbia College Chicago. She is the recipient of the 2023 Cleveland Arts Prize, and her work has been exhibited at Ground Floor, Hyde Park Art Center’s biennial exhibition, Chicago; Filter Photo, and Chicago; SPACES, Cleveland, among others. Farajolahzadeh teaches photography at Indiana University.

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