By Nazanine Nouri


Abbas Zahedi, a London-born installation artist of Iranian descent, has won the 2022 Frieze Artist Award — part of a program of special projects and partnerships established by the Frieze Art Fair, a major international art fair that takes place in London every October.

Abbas Zahedi, CSM Degree Show Portrait, Unofficial Year Book (2019). Bálint Álovits and Thats So CSM.

The award was established in 2013 in partnership with Forma, a London-based contemporary arts organization, as a platform for an emerging artist to present a new commission during the fair, which has two sections ­— Frieze London and Frieze Masters — and takes place this year from Oct. 12 to 16.

Zahedi’s prizewinning installation will be located near the fair’s entrance. It will echo the architectural forms of modernist bus stops, and consist of a wooden structure co-designed with Harley Gray, Bassam Ibellini and Neurofringe.

The artist will work with reusable and sustainably sourced materials, and aims to cause minimal disruption as he installs the work. The structure will host live activations that will be broadcast via “DIY radio” online and within the fair.

“Artists competing for the prize had been charged with creating time-based works across video, performance and audio,” Chris Rawcliffe, Forma’s artistic director, told Artforum magazine earlier this month.  “Zahedi’s Waiting With {Sonic Support} sits perfectly at the intersection of these different art forms, creating a space of communion, collaboration and exchange.”

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How-To-Make-A-How-From-A-Why

Abbas Zahedi, How To Make A How From A Why? South London Gallery, 2020

Frieze described Zahedi’s “Waiting With {Sonic Support}” as “a conflation of a public waiting area and a public support space,” and said it “builds upon the artist’s long-standing interest in borders, thresholds and how things can move within systems or networks.”

Abbas Zahedi was born in London in 1984 and studied medicine at University College, London before obtaining a Master’s in contemporary photography at Central Saint Martins in 2019.  In 2019-20, during a residency at the South London Gallery, he created “How to Make a How form a Why?” an installation and sound work that was acquired by the Tate in 2021.

He is a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art (London) and teaches at universities across the UK and abroad.

Zahedi’s interdisciplinary practice blends contemporary philosophy, poetry and social dynamics with sound, sculpture and performative media. Highlighting the interconnection between personal and collective histories, the artist makes connections with those around, in proximity to, or involved with the particular situations he focuses on.

“Abbas Zahedi’s art doesn’t just exist in space,” wrote ARTnews in May. “It acts upon space, riffing on the inherent uncanniness of the empty gallery with interventions of sound, moving image, and performance.  There’s less a sense of viewing one of his installations than of being hosted by it.”

The artist has received numerous awards, including the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Awards for Artists (2021) and the Serpentine Galleries’ Support Structures for Support Structures (2021).

He has shown work in group exhibitions including “Metatopia 10013,” Anonymous Gallery, New York (2022); “The London Open 2022,” Whitechapel Gallery, London (2022); “Postwar Modern,” Barbican, London (2022); “Testament,” Goldsmiths CCA, London (2022); and “Temporary Compositions,” Gallery 31 Somerset House, London (2021).

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