Panteha Abareshi‘s work is rooted in her existence as a chronically ill/disabled body existing with multiple medical illnesses, at the root of which is sickle cell zero beta thalassemia, a genetic blood disorder that causes debilitating pain and bodily deterioration that both increase with age. Her practice explores the complexities of living within a body that is highly monitored, constantly examined, and made to feel like a specimen. Taking images that are recognizable as “human” forms and reducing them to the gestural is a juxtaposition of her own body’s objectification and dissection. Through her performance work, she pushes her body to, and often beyond, the limits of its ability. The radicalized abjectification of her own corporeal form allows for a continued examination of her bodily deterioration and its connection to a larger context of universal fragility fear, pain, and mortality. In her video work and installations, she aims to make the viewer hyper-aware of their own body and actively employ accessibility as a tool, both withholding and over-extending it, to cast light onto the ill/disabled experience.
Image: Panteha Abareshi, UNLEARN THE BODY (still), 2021. VHS, super 8mm, performance. Courtesy of the artist.