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In between Iran and Zurich – a mindscape of transitory colours

Finding oneself uprooted in time and/or space is a normal condition for artists, but each exile, expatriation or emigration is always a new discovery. In the case of the Iranian Mahroo Movahedi, the sense of belonging and loss in her Swiss new home affects also the perception of colours.

The flight from Iran to Switzerland took Mahroo Movahedi only 5 hours, but she landed in a mental void, in-between her native ever-sunny Isfahan and her new abode in Zurich. It is not that Movahedi had problems to get integrated in Switzerland: she pursued her studies at the Zurich University of Arts (ZHdK) and gave a new turn to her practice in an interdisciplinary way – connecting anthropological and sensory ethnography to her art practice.

Having won the Young Art Award from Ute Barth gallery in Zurich in 2016, a biannual prize for artists under 33 years old, has helped to raise Mahroo’s profile beyond the Swiss art scene. And although her motifs still carry her Isfahan memories, she navigates an artistic realm, the “in-between” space she likes to mention time and away, where national borders are dissolved.

swissinfo.ch: You come from Iran and have worked there as an artist and teacher of fine art for quite a few years and now, you live, study, and work in Switzerland. What have you kept of your practice from your time in Iran? 

You say that you explore issues realted to culture, landscape, and language questioning the notion of identity and sense of belonging. How is it?

Where is your inspiration, here or there?

You talk often about the “life in between”, how does this show in your artwork concretely?

Is this change only about colors?  

What do you miss the most about Iran?