A Flight into the Abyss

Sep 19 – September 22, 11:00AM – 6:00PM

Offsite programming for The Way the Mystic Sees: Navy Pier Festival Hall, 600 East Grand Avenue | Booth 467

Human Rights Watch returns to EXPO CHICAGO in partnership with Weinberg/Newton Gallery to host A Flight into the Abyss, an interdisciplinary site-specific installation by Chicago-based artist Maryam Taghavi.

A Flight into the Abyss is a meditation on a single historical photograph from September 1984 taken during a track and field training session at the Shiroudi Sports Complex in Tehran. The installation reconstructs fragments of the original image and mimics the rise and fall of an athlete's jump in its display. The photograph captures an incomplete sentence, "The Fate of War...," which appears on a banner in the empty stadium. In the image, the athlete is forever suspended mid-flight — suddenly implicated and caught in the political tension of the Iran-Iraq war that began in 1980 and continued for eight years.

Shining a spotlight on the impact of political conflict, Taghavi emphasizes that her work "looks back into the recent past to think about the historical repetition of similar events." Taghavi's work asks us to question statements disseminated by those in power and to identify how moments in sports may be fraught with propaganda and political tension. A Flight into the Abyss encourages us to engage in unexpected moments of joy and beauty as acts of autonomy and resistance.

From the exhibition “The Way the Mystic Sees”