In the Studio with Ghada Amer: Collaboration with Reza Farkhondeh

“My collaboration with Reza actually started in 2000. Reza stopped painting for himself and he was very depressed. He used to come to my studio all the time, right across the street from here, just to hang out, do nothing. He slept and looked at the birds outside. And then when I was traveling, he used to come to the studio anyway. I was traveling a lot, and one time, I left my painting like this [blank primed canvas] and when I came back it was very different: he had painted on them uninvited! [Laughs]

He’s a big inspiration for me. I’d draw on [a canvas] and then he’d come and change it. So after two or three years, I told him I think this is a collaboration. He totally refused the term [but I insisted] it is a collaboration. I invented the acronym RFGA. And in 2005 or 2006, he finally agreed that it's collaboration. He still doesn't want to sign the paintings—although we continue doing them—but he would sign the drawings that we do together.”— Ghada Amer

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Photographs by Alec Bastian