Abbas Akhavan, Untitled Garden, 2008/12.

Exhibition: 09 October – 20 November 2012
Times: Monday – Saturday, 12:00 – 18:00
Artist Talk (with Mark Rappolt): Thursday, 25 October 2012, 19:00 – 20:30
Private View: Monday 8 October 2012, 15:00 – 19:00
“Step inside and the outside follows you into this abandoned house… The overall impression is of an unspoiled interior that’s been subtly soiled by an elemental passer-through”
– Ossian Ward, Time Out

Study for a Garden is the first UK solo exhibition by Toronto-based Iranian artist Abbas Akhavan.

During a 10-week residency at Delfina Foundation, Akhavan has produced a series of installations in response to the Foundation’s adjacent property at 31 Catherine Place. The exhibition will offer visitors a unique opportunity to preview the un-renovated period building which the Foundation will expand into in Autumn 2013. Study for a Garden also marks the last exhibition at the Foundation before it closes for renovation in January 2013.

Folding the border between the garden and domestic space, Study for a Garden explores the intrusion of nature into a house where familiar spaces have gradually been taken over by foreign elements. The invasion of water and vegetation into various rooms of the house is a continuation of Akhavan’s research into the relationship between foreign and familiar, hospitable and hostile, domestic and wild. From the front door to the upstairs bedroom and back to the basement, the installations comprising invasive plants species and hedges govern the audience’s movements, rendering them at times as guests and at times trespassers. In one instance, visitors encounter an oscillating water sprinkler, keeping them at bay with its sprays of water; in another, the original floral carpet from the house creates the illusion of sprouting with natural ivy. These territorial gardens address the naturalisation of barriers, where every garden is a guarded space, an enclosure, a compound. Water, vegetation and gardening tools create discriminatory spaces, keeping some species alive and others dead.

The residency and exhibition are in partnership with Canada House Arts Trust and Iran Heritage Foundation. The private view is hosted in association with The Third Line Dubai, UAE.

In partnership with

  • Iran Heritage Foundation
  • Canada House Arts Trust

In association with

The Third Line

Press Release


Press coverage

Time Out
New York Times Blog

Installation images


Talk recording



Related Content

Abbas Akhavan

London: 17/08/2012 — 30/10/2012

Abbas Akhavan: Study For A Garden

Installation photos from the artist’s 2012 solo show at Delfina Foundation


In Conversation: Abbas Akhavan and Mark Rappolt

On the artist’s Delfina Foundation exhibition, Study for a Garden (2012)