Koushna Navabi’s sculptures, paintings, drawings, and installations explore the constant rub of the familiar and domestic against the surreal and the strange. Often playful and funny they explore estrangement and alienation through the dualities, binaries and conflicts that result from an unstable balance of joy, horror and humour.
From the beginning of her career, she has worked in mixed media with a strong emphasis on textile, embroidery and knitting. Her work presents a variety of deformed, transformed and reformed objects: a female body, dismembered and rendered from rough wood fused with a rug from home; a biscuit box remembered from childhood, rescaled for tombstone-scale biscuits and rebranded in embroidery; knitted articles of clothing twisted and stretched for an absent body; a ring for the finger, its intimacy disrupted by a tiny political monument. In such ways, Navabi recasts the comforting landscapes of home, childhood and memory and expresses the impossibility of stability, the joy and trauma of the journey, of being here, of being elsewhere.
Koushna Navabi was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1962 and currently lives and works in London. She left Iran after the revolution in 1979, completed her education in New York and later lived in Los Angeles. She attended Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she completed an MA in Fine Art in 1995.
In 2019, she exhibited work in The Spark is You, a collateral event of the 58th Venice Biennale in Venice, and at Parasol Unit in London. In 2018, she took part in In the Fields of Empty Days: The Intersection of Past and Present in Iranian Art (group show) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, work which was acquired for its permanent collection. She has exhibited in the UK including at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham; Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge; the Percy Miller Gallery, London, and in Japan at the Hiroshima Art Document.