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Sculpture (MA)

Abdollah Nafisi

The Bouncer, made of Ash, evokes the roots system of the forest; the connectivity of networks that self-sustain this endangered species of indigenous British tree. The work invites the viewer to speak into the cavity of the wood- one of Abdollah’s early 2023 experiments with vibrations and sound as a way of accessing the hidden language of the wood.

Dimensions : 202 x 110 x 80 cm 

Degree Details

School of Arts & HumanitiesSculpture (MA)RCA2023 at Truman Brewery

Truman Brewery, F Block, Ground, first and second floors

Sculpture human strike political contemporary outdoor wooden handmade high end metal

I travelled the deserts and mountains of Iran for six years alongside nomads and tribes, observing their responses to the land. Here, I learned the art of improvisation, and my work aims to translate this sense of embodiment through emergent methods of form making that explore the essence of ‘connectivity’. Honouring the process of spontaneity, I examine the parallels between the ecologies of nature and of man, exploring the tensions between heritage and futurism through both functional art and contemporary sculpture. Working primarily with locally sourced wood - altered through carving, bending and charring -my work reflects on the conflicting ideologies within modernity and our need to return to nature.

I see the wood as a time machine; a storyteller of life. It is possible to read the life and the connections of a tree- for example, the abundance of rainfall in a single year - just as it is possible, in parallel, to ‘read the journey’ of the nomads through their kilims; the colours of their dyes shifting as they encounter and relate to shifting landscapes and different seasonal plants. The recurrent grid structures in my work represent these networks and parallels between nature and humanity, reflecting on our moments of connection and dis-connection. What is each joint supporting, elevating or self-sustaining?

The traditional joinery techniques I use here can be repaired and reversed, just as a woodland creates systems that can repair themselves. Glimpses of industry - the welded bolts, the wheels- represent our evolving ‘dance’ with Pandora - the spirit of human ingenuity, progress and technology that drives us and gives birth to our creativity and yet remains an ever-present spectre of our potential self-destruction.

I have been increasingly interweaving my indigenous experiences and craft training with my artistic practices, opening up a dialogue about our connectivity to the land and the urgency to reclaim these suppressed practices and wisdom.With a focus on spontaneity, flow states and the act of surrender. Seeing sound and sculpture as the most powerful ways of connecting matter, my most recent research surrounds using sound to convey the connectivity of the forest inside the gallery space; vivifying the sculptural forms and giving the viewer access to the hidden language of the wood’s vast networks.

I always imagine the future in the solution, and work practically towards achieving an artistic form of my vision. I want my work to expose the truth in a raw and provocative way; but I also want it to instill hope and a sense of empowerment in those that view it. I hope that my contribution to sculpture will fuse these narratives; demonstrating the two sides of our nature: functional, mathematical and concrete, yet fluid, spontaneous and regenerative.

The Bouncer

Dimensions : 202 x 110 x 80 cm