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February 18 – March 26, 2016


Press Release


‘It is the question of ghosts’

Jacques Derrida


New York, NY—Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to present Night Paintings, a discrete installation of steel, shadow, and sound by Iranian-born, Brooklyn-based artist, Afruz Amighi on view from February 18th —March 26th, 2016.  Composed of light and welded-steel, a diptych of two sculptural reliefs seeks to investigate the plural temporality of an architectonics of ritual and cultural memory.


Amighi meets the material with the immaterial.  ‘The work of memory collapses time’, wrote Walter Benjamin, whose concept of the aura of the work of the art—its sign of affective potency and guarantor of authenticity—found its basis in ritual.  For Amighi, time condenses into the physical formations of cultural memory: the structures of monuments, temples, shrines. The wall-based Night Paintings explore the slippage in signification—across time and culture—of these reified structures of recollection and ritual through a layering of the outlines of devotional architectural fragments and a haunting employ of shadow as a constituent graphic element of the work. An ambient and deeply sonorous musical element, presented in collaboration with cellist Kristine Kruta and composer Darius Jamal Van Sluytman, accompanies the installation.






Night Paintings draw in shadow, in the sharp relief of darkness against light, in the liminal conflation of the ephemeral solidity of the line and the voluminous, enduring negative space of open metal silhouettes meeting air.  Hers is not an illumination, but a darkening.     


About the artist

Afruz Amighi (b 1974, Iran) is the inaugural recipient of the Jameel Prize for Middle Eastern contemporary art, awarded by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.  Raised in New York by Jewish and Zoroastrian parents, she completed her BA in Political Science at Barnard College at Columbia University, before going on to complete her MFA at New York University.  Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Houston Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; and the The Devi Foundation, New Delhi, India—among many others. Her work was commissioned for the Venice Biennale in 2013.


For Press Inquiries, please contact Brooke Lynn McGowan,