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Critique of Reason

MRG Fine Art, Los Angeles

A Critique of Reason is Joshua Hashemzadeh’s third solo exhibition with MRG Fine Art. Recently obtaining a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, he presents us with a critical reflection of his experiences while in a pedagogical institution. The show takes its title from the famed literary work, “The Critique of Pure Reason” by Immanuel Kant, which evaluates the foundations and classifications of human knowledge. A premise Josh uses as the preliminary frame-work for his recent exposé, resulting in an examination of the financial burdens of higher-education, growing intellectual disparities, and the disingenuousness of industrialized accreditations.

The featured works are presented in the spirit of academic experimentation and have been accumulated throughout, as well as immediately after, Joshua Hashemzadeh’s time as an undergraduate student. Toying with materials such as physical currency, lithography, receipts, and his diploma he touches on a divide between students and their alma matter, insisting viewers re-examine the impact of institutional influence as well as the social and economic privileges associated with college-education in the United States.   

“I’m fascinated by the ways we construct value in invaluable objects. Whether its printed word, currency, or art. The receipt paintings are a result of recorded purchases that collectively account for my time in university, and ultimately the cost of my degree… Its all just proof of sale. In the end, this paper is the only tangible trace of my time there. So if merit is, in large, defined by the validation of institutions and others then its my obligation, as an artist, to provide such documentation as art itself.”

Whether looking at haptic collage or ready-made objects the works constantly insinuate a contrast between physical presence and ideological fabrications of prestige. Josh divides the gallery space between moments of austerity and aesthetic play, causing the room to become an expression of institutional duality. Thus fluctuating between traditional displays of prominence and informal depictions of artistic inquiry. This expression of autobiographical interpretation forms a contemporary critique of the “educational complex.” An entity alluded to via central installation structured to the dimensions of the late Mike Kelley’s piece, by the same name.

Joshua Hashemzadeh (b. 1993, Los Angeles, CA) has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. His work, often varying in mediums, is built around an investigation of postmodern conditions referring in detail to: millennial identity, social institution, and commerce. Recent works have been featured in several exhibitions in the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas with recent highlights being: Formal Attire Only, MRG Fine Art, Los Angeles; 32 Shades of Plastic, MRG Fine Art, Los Angeles; Tethered, Like Minded Salon, San Francisco.