Hossein Ghaemi (b. 1985, Tehran) presents surreal scenarios via real and imaginary characters. Secrecy and the unconscious, theatricality and mysticism operate as veiling elements in his
paintings, sculptures, installations and performances. Ghaemi employs colour and materials intensely, elevating non-standard signifiers as vivid symbols in a hierarchy that emerges from his native Persian and Turkish cultures. The voice as a conduit for expression is an ongoing theme for both object-based and performance works. An elaborate working-out of divas.
Since 2009, Ghaemi has developed an impressive series of surreal performance works that employ choirs for which he creates a score, abstract libretto as well as full costuming, styling and choreographing of singers. In a 2013 work presented as part of the Tiny Stadiums festival in Sydney, Ghaemi had his performers – three warriors – singing from the rooftop of a defunct cake shop, engaged in combat, armed with an artillery of sonic ‘questions’. In April 2017, he presented his first work outside Australia, Enter at intermission, at Salt Projects, Beijing. Ghaemi was selected for Primavera 2014: Young Australian Artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, his first major exhibition in a public institution. Curated by artist Mikala Dwyer, Ghaemi developed a major new work for Primavera that built upon his choral performances, taking them in a new direction.
In 2010, Ghaemi completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney and is currently a Masters candidate also at SCA. Ghaemi has actively exhibited at artist-run-initiatives in Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart and developed performances for festivals and arts programs in Sydney and Melbourne. Solo exhibitions (excluding performances) include WIDE BLUE YONDER AND THE ALMIGHTY HOOF (a painting show!) at The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2014); a temporary outdoor sculpture, Bush Node and the Second Fiddle, for the artist-run public art program, Plinth Projects, in Melbourne’s Edinburgh Gardens (2014); Spirit Awl Hickey, Vox Talent / Crest of the Pious Hex-dump! at The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2013); Earmark on the Hoi Polloi, Honours Graduation Show, Sydney College of the Arts, The University of Sydney, Sydney (2010).
Performances include Frank: Hole up – Hold up, in the YOU’RE HISTORY festival at Performance Space, Sydney (2013); THE DEFICIENT OF SOLUTION DEVELOPMENT: QUIZZING MAKES REMEDY for Tiny Stadiums festival, Sydney (2013); 10th Edition MCA ARTBAR, curated by Michaela Gleave, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2013); SKIN IN ON, as part of Performance Space, Sydney’s program, NightTime: Twilight, at St Stephen’s Church, Newtown, curated by Bec Dean (2012); The Ooo in Who as part of Firstdraft Gallery’s We Are Here program at Church on Chalmers in Surry Hills, Sydney (2011); Ussef/Issiac I Can’t Tell Which One is Wearing the Hat?, at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney (2009 and 2010 respectively).
Major collaborative works include a week-long performance project with Claire Finneran for Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, Artistic Director Emily Sexton and Artistic Program Manager Serena
Bentley (2012); a two-person exhibition with Claire Finneran at Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney (2011); and an ambitious installation with Sydney Guild for an exhibition at The Paper Mill, Sydney (2011). Group exhibitions include TWO/THREE at The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2012); Wunder Pond at Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney, curated by Sandra Di Palma (2012); OOGGA BOOGA – Hossein Ghaemi, Benjamin Ryan and Ben Terakes at The Paper Mill, Sydney; and Everything’s Alright at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, curated by Amanda Rowell (2010).
In 2013 Ghaemi was shortlisted for the Fisher’s Ghost Art Award – Contemporary Art Award section at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney and in 2010 he was nominated for the Redlands Art Prize, Sydney by artist Lindy Lee.
Ghaemi was part of the Sydney-based collective, Sydney Guild (with Christopher Hodge and Amelia Wallin). Between 2012-2014, Sydney Guild established a regular exhibition program in their Darlinghurst studio space, supported by the City of Sydney as part of the Oxford Street Creative Spaces program. Ghaemi was awarded a twelve-month Artspace Non-residential Studio in 2016.