Kour Pour (b. Exeter, England, 1987) graduated with a BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, USA in 2010. Pour’s practice explores the various aspects of identity formation, the social and cultural constructions of the West and the East and the way in which these constructions have defined our thinking. He currently lives in Los Angeles, USA.
Inspired by an early education in textiles from his Iranian-born father, who owned a carpet shop in the UK during the late 1980s, Pour’s early series of carpet paintings, which take months to prepare, are based on designs the artist has researched from exhibitions and auction catalogues. Each design is highly labour-intensive and incorporates a range of techniques, including scrupulous hand painting, silkscreen printing, and applying paint layers with a broomstick, sanding down, and repainting. The pieces are informed by an interest in carpets and their role in the world as an object of craft—people weaving in a community, the history, the patterns, the figures, as well as their status as collectable commodities.
Pour’s newest series of work addresses Japonisme, the fascination by Western artists with Japanese art and aesthetics. In his series Tectonic paintings, the artist uses the Japanese Ukiyoe printing process to produce richly layered and coloured abstract paintings. Originally used to make easily reproducible art for the masses, many elements such as pictorial cropping, clean contours, and compositional characteristics have become incorporated into Western art since the Impressionists. The paintings, which at first appear to reference the Western abstract tradition, are actually a translation of earthquake and volcano maps produced by the Japanese Geological Survey and refer to the shifting and overlapping of aesthetic terms with this physical metaphor of transformation.
Among others, Pour’s solo exhibitions include Onnagata (2016), Feuer/Mesler, New York, USA; Samsara (2015), Depart Foundation, Los Angeles, USA; Ozymandias (2014), Ellis King, Dublin, Ireland; and a forthcoming show at The American Academy, Rome, Italy later this year. The artist’s group shows include Labyrinth(s) (2016), Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, China; Painting Show – Part One (2015), Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany; From Above (2015), Di Donna, New York, USA; and The Go Between (2014), Museo di Capodimonte, Naples, Italy.