Do certain visceral qualities of urban decay influence our experiences, memories and, ultimately, our sense of history? To answer these questions, I use a multi-disciplinary approach to study specific locations through the opacity of fragmented recollections. By conducting a forensic survey of indirect impressions, I rely heavily on memory, both personal and collective, and not on direct techniques such as field notes, sketches or photos.
I use decay to inspire my deconstructive abstractions and interventions, and, hopefully, to expose the beautiful hidden within catastrophe and collapse. Ideas related to purpose and utility also inform my work, conceptually, which further investigates how these constructs become interrupted, abandoned or exhausted. More recently, due to the pandemic, this approach has been broadened to also consider how contagion can turn familiar configurations into abstracted and, at times, alien depictions that highlight the intrinsic qualities of traumatic amalgamation.
My interest in the nuanced qualities of decomposition stem from my fascination with abandoned and dilapidated buildings that formed my childhood playgrounds. These highly personal encounters, allowed me to draw parallels between razed dwellings and the shared despair, yet resiliency, of their exiled inhabitants. By blurring the boundaries between progress and ruin, I am making an observation regarding the misguided inevitability of evolution.
Amir Hariri was born in Tehran, Iran, and immigrated to the United States to attend college in the early 1990s. After earning a Masters’ degree in engineering from Cornell University, he spent over a decade working on design projects from concert halls and museums to glass designs for Apple. Amir also spent 5 years studying painting and printmaking at the Art Students League, during which time he served as a teaching assistant and as a member of the board. His artwork incorporates his professional background in design and engineering, as well as studies in anatomy. Amir has exhibited nationally and internationally, with pieces included in public and private collections in the United States, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, and Japan. Recent awards include the Museum of Arts and Design and NARS Foundation residencies, Smack Mellon 'Hot Picks' and the NYFA Fellowship.