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Rex Delafkaran is an Iranian-American interdisciplinary artist and dancer from California, currently based in Washington, D.C. Delafkaran holds a degree in Ceramics and Performance Art from the San Francisco Art Institute. Using movement and objects she explores ideas of failure and tensions between bodies, intimacy and language. She has exhibited work and staged performances at the Smithsonian Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, DC), IA&A at Hillyer (Washington, DC), Transformer Gallery (Washington, DC), Panoply Performance Lab (Brooklyn, NY), Southern Exposure Gallery (San Francisco, CA), and the Textile Museum at The George Washington University (Washington, DC) among other venues. Delafkaran was the Exhibition Director of Hamiltonian Artists in Washington, DC till December 2020. Often working collaboratively, Delafkaran curates independently, teaches movement and ceramics practices, and continues to perform and exhibit nationally and internationally.

artist statement

The foundation of my practice is rooted in methods and acts of translation and language. I play with materials to discover hybrid forms and functions, abstract languages, and explore narratives of Iranian-American and queer identities, real and invented. Through frameworks of hybridity my work translates ideas physically through live performance, multimedia documentation, ceramics, sculpture and dance. When deployed in concert these ideas ask questions and have the possibility to invent new ways of understanding. Tied up in the aesthetics of identities, functional handmade and readymade objects, and the language of dance is a dedication to the notion of failure, and evidence of effort. I am interested in what languages and materials we have at our disposal to make meaning, where the emotional mythologizes utility and identity, and how we can reconsider the literal and cultural functions of objects and bodies.

I’m interested in the body as a tool and objects as bodies, and through the use of my own both as a performer and a maker I am wading through personal, cultural minutiae to form the languages at work in my practice. Questions surface from the tensions between objects like cinder blocks and crafted ceramic vessels, or a ceramic dildo on a Persian carpet.  My performance based practice explores the ways we translate our personal and historical archives into our bodies, and how haptic translations deepen and hybridize existing knowledge. By visualizing and embodying language, I investigate the humor, formal relationships, and discomfort found when ideas are expressed with or through a specific body, shape, or material. My practice settles into divergences of material to make evident the intertwined languages of identity, utility and legibility.