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Erasing Borders: Passport to Contemporary Indian Art  Feb-June 2008  

Amir Parsa was born in Tehran in 1968 and grew up in Iran and the U.S. while attending French international schools. He holds degrees from Princeton and Columbia universities and currently lives in New York, where he is a Lecturer and Educator at the Museum of Modern Art and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Mr. Parsa was the featured author of Editions Caractères at its fiftieth anniversary in 2000. His work has been read and displayed at the Salon du livre, at events hosted by Printemps des Poètes, at the Conciergerie and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France as well as other cultural centers and venues. His literary work has garnered the attention of critics and scholars both in the U.S. and France, and he was included in the anthology of new French and Francophone poets, the Nouvelle Anthologie des poètes français et francophones (Ed. Huguet 2004). Most recently, Mr. Parsa was a participant in the Salon du livre in France in 2006 ("Francofffonies!") with a reading and discussion with French critics around his polyphonic oeuvre. He was also featured in Artpress magazine, one of France’s leading magazines covering innovative art, literature and culture, in 2006. In addition, he has been a main contributor to Underfire, an international forum on the representation of armed conflict created by artist Jordan Crandall, which has had showings at the Witte de With Museum in Rotterdam and is included in this year’s Seville Biannual.

Out of his multifarious experiences and his scholarly research, Mr. Parsa has embarked on an enterprise that radically challenges our perception of the world as well as various fields of knowledge. Writing in English, French and Persian, he exposes the essence of cultural and linguistic ruptures, of wandering and divided selves, of fragments and totalities.

Each of his books interweaves various literary genres to create new ones, employs various registers of textuality and explores possibilities unique to each language. Characters are porters of multiple consciousnesses, fragmented beings attempting to apprehend the world. Universes are meticulously created, only to be dismantled or destroyed soon thereafter. Labyrinthine stories emerge through a variety of styles and tones, impacting the reader at emotional, psychological and intellectual levels, ultimately unraveling the very essence of aesthetic engagement.

While retaining their autonomy and their own typology, the various works are inscribed within a process that, overall, puts into question the concepts of a mother tongue, of national, cultural and literary attachments and belonging, and the very possibility of translations. The simultaneous publication of Mr. Parsa’s early works also unsettles the idea of a "first work". Rather, the accent is placed on the critical operations merging within the project as a whole, and on the philosophical and political ramifications of the author’s vision.

It is a new and challenging body of work, at once dense and jubilatory, full of humor, erudition and sensibility. One where an initiating and innovative language, an unexplored field, is opened at the risk of literature itself, creating new forms, and a new poetic. Amir Parsa’s early output constitutes, in short, a radically new literary enterprise and a unique artistic itinerary.


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