A Flight into the Abyss

Thursday, Sep 19 – 22, 2019 12 – 5 pm

688 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

EXPO CHICAGO, Navy Pier Festival Hall, 600 East Grand Ave., 

Booth 467

Human Rights Watch returns to EXPO CHICAGO in partnership with Weinberg/Newton Gallery to hostA Flight into the Abyss, an interdisciplinary site-specific installation by Chicago-based artist Maryam Taghavi.

Composed of multimedia print, text, and sculptural intervention, the installation is a mediation on a single historical photograph. The photograph, from September 1984, was taken during a track and field training session at the Shiroodi Sports Complex in Tehran.A Flight into the Abyssreconstructs fragments of the original image and mimics the rise and fall of an athlete’s jump in its display. In the image, the athlete is instantaneously and forever suspended mid-flight—suddenly implicated and caught in the political tension of the Iran-Iraq war that began in 1980 and continued for eight years.


Shining a spotlight on the impact of political conflict, the figure is seen both as an ordinary individual and as an athlete. The stadium is both ordinary, yet political. Taghavi’s work asks us to question statements disseminated by those in power, identify how ordinary moments in sports may be fraught with political tension, and encourages us to engage in unexpected moments of joy and beauty as acts of autonomy and resistance.