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Negin Sharifzadeh: The Story of a Curse

Animation, sculpture, print

Negin Sharifzadeh, born in Tehran, Iran, is a multi-disciplinary artist based in New York. Growing up in Iran in the wake of revolution, she is fascinated by the interplay of different natural, emotional, and political systems. Sharifzadeh started working in animation and new media since her move to New York in 2010. Her animation style grows out her earlier sculptural and performing arts practices. The props are made by hand, then captured in-camera, then digitally edited and sound designed. Her stories are inspired by familial tales, poetry, and politics, which she translates into collective, surreal and mythic structures.

“Negin Shrifzadeh’s meticulously crafted and beautiful compositions of visuals and sound interweave notions of the fragility of life and the forces that interrupt it. They slip from her subconscious that has been indelibly impressed with memories of political and social complexities in her native Iran, fueling the profound world questions she confronts, and emerging in a body of work that has great aesthetic and emotional impact.”  N. Colosi


(Above) Even Gray Feels Blue (2011-2012) Single Track HD Video, Mixed-Media Stop Motion Animation, 8 Minutes

This work investigates the nature of melancholia and solitude, translating these most intimate and deeply personal feelings into their aesthetic essences. The echoes of the individual move into collective realities. Sorrow becomes social malaise.

The film avoids the structure of story and narrative, built instead as a musical composition, creating an ambiguous psychic space for the viewer to enter. The images have been created in conversation with a composition, The last Turn, by the Iranian master Oud player Negar Bouban, based on “Shabaneh,” a poem by Ahmad Shamlou. Even Gray Feels Blue edited and composited by digital master Harold Moss. Both music and image utilize repetition to create a trance-like dynamic, intensifying the emotional resonance by tapping into memories as individual history and an act of collective remembrance.

No one speaks; Nothing to say; Nothing to teach. Silence is truly the best speech! – Poem by Ahmad Shamlou, Translated by: Maryam Dilmaghani  

Negin Sharfizadeh’s newest stop-motion animated film, Story of a Curse #1, and a series of sculptural works and hand-painted prints drawn out of the filmmaking process are on view at the SoHo20 Gallery.

Story of a Curse #1 was inspired by the story of the artist’s mother moving through loss and despair after the still birth of her first child and only son. Birth, the act of creating life, had become a deliverance of death. She came to believe that she had been cursed. The film explores the dreams of motherhood, the bond between a baby in the womb and the mother, and the role magic can play in our processes of grief and resilience.

Sharifzadeh has developed an organic suite of techniques, “making magic happen with projected light and found materials,” in the words of Lili White, founder of the AXWFFestival. She peels away the traditional sculptural methods of building and casting, and works with everything from needlework learned from her grandmother to assemblages of found objects, wire mesh, wax and plaster. Her animations, including a custom-built multi-planar animation stand incorporating layers of glass, are painstakingly constructed using these same elements. Through these methods, Sharifzadeh has found a resonance between the themes she is exploring and the works, allowing her stories to slip almost unconsciously into the materials through the obsessive actions of her hands creating. .

Grandmother’s Lost Stories, 2013, Mixed Media, 19” x 9” x 8.5”. Photo by Nicholas Beck

Even Gray Feels Blue (2011-2012) film still

Story of a Curse #1, 2014, sculpture

Intent, 2013, Embelished Film Still, Giclee on Canvas, Size: 36″ x 24″, Edition 1/8


Negin Sharifzadeh is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer and filmmaker based in New York. Growing up in Iran, one of the world’s most historically and socially complex regions, in the wake of revolution, she is fascinated by the mechanisms and interplay of different natural, emotional, and political systems. Her work explores how these systems are composed; how information, energy and material are codified within them; and how bodies are impacted by and interact with them. She has explored these themes through multiple mediums including sculpture, performance, installations, and increasingly combining all of these mediums in stop-motion animation.

Sharifzadeh’s short animated film, Even Gray Feels Blue, has been featured in festivals around the world, and was awarded Best Experimental Film at the 2012 Williamsburg International Film Festival, Best Animated Film at the 2012 Crown Heights Film Festival, and Best Video Art Production at the Alwan Center for the Arts in New York.

She has had solo exhibitions and performances in Tehran, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and has been part of numerous international group exhibitions. She received her BFA in Sculpture from faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University in Iran in 2002, and her BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago in performing arts in 2010.


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