“As a result, gender is not to culture as sex is to nature; gender is also the discursive/cultural means by which “sexed nature” or “a natural sex” is produced and established as “prediscursive,” prior to culture, a politically neutral surface on which culture acts”

― Judith Butler, Gender Trouble


Mahsa Tehrani has long engaged with sculpture making as an act of questioning heteronormative mechanisms of art production; not only in her choice of a media that are traditionally associated with domestic craft e.g. Fiber, woven textile, etc. but also in her artistic strategies of rendering and size. As an emerging artist and student of arts her objects were often modest in size and in a gallery setting, quite easy to miss. However, as one observing and following her works over the years, I find in her recent works an increasing urge to rebel against a predetermined, male dominated context that frames "sculptor" along the same lines of heteronormative womanhood. Her recent works are quite outspoken and ambitious in the way she deals with notions of motherhood and gender as social constructs through manipulating traditional forms of art making. Blank canvas in her recent works is a reminiscent of minimalist art with stylized subtle projections of spermatic shapes, but minimalism gets a splurging treatment of vaginal blood and swirling, fetus like shapes and sudden eruption of red crevices on neutrality of the white surface. Her recent show troubles the "politically neutral surface" of sex and childbirth as natural by laying out the same disturbing details deemed inappropriate to demonstrate in a patriarchal setting; yet in doing so she employs the same quintessentially male dominant language; her art speaks to domesticity as an act of subversion.


Golnar Yarmohammad Touski