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The Moon Belongs to Everyone

Stacy Arezou Mehrfar

Filter Photo is pleased to present The Moon Belongs to Everyone, a solo exhibition of photography by Stacy Arezou Mehrfar, curated by Allie Haeusslein.

Curators Statement

The Moon Belongs to Everyone speaks to the experience of immigration and diaspora, to the physical and emotional implications of reimagining home, belonging, and community while mourning what is lost in that process. A first-generation Iranian-American, Mehrfar grew up on Long Island, navigating the challenges of reconciling two distinct cultures. Shortly after her thirtieth birthday, she emigrated to Australia, a relocation that left her feeling out of place. She assumed her return to New York a decade later would be a homecoming; instead, she felt estranged, time away rendering the landscape unfamiliar. Though Mehrfar’s personal experience informs her approach in The Moon Belongs to Everyone, the work adopts a universal perspective rooted in the evocative rather than the specific.

Landscapes, still lives, color fields, and portraits coalesce to form an unsettling, enigmatic environment. Attempts to anchor place and meaning are repeatedly eluded, speaking to the uncertainty at the heart of dislocation. From snow-covered to lushly tropical, landscapes present “place” as anywhere and nowhere. Familiar, everyday still lives take on metaphorical significance as memories and associations imbue their meaning. Alluring, vibrant color fields demand continued looking though the vague forms captured avoid identification. Individuals isolated in similarly indeterminate backgrounds suggest a shared searching, a community defined by experience rather than borders. References to the moon and sun—and the distinctive quality of light produced by these celestial sources—weave through the project, offering unexpected moments of grounding and familiarity in the otherworldly rather than the terrestrial.

This dynamic, non-traditional installation of The Moon Belongs to Everyone echoes the atmosphere of disorientation and instability conjured in the work. Connections between pictures develop, recede, and emerge anew, eliciting personal narratives based on both the viewer’s perspective and experience of the installation’s distinctive rhythms. In this way, the shared pursuit of home, inclusion, and community—especially in light of uprooting—is intimately connected to the individual, creating a space where the personal and universal simultaneously coexist.

A monograph of The Moon Belongs to Everyone was published by GOST Books in 2021. The project also includes an immersive eight-channel video installation.


Remnants and Memories: A Review of Stacy Arezou Mehrfar at Filter Space

Stacy Arezou Mehrfar Captures a Collective Search for Home

About the Artist & Curator

Stacy Mehrfar is a first-generation Iranian-American artist. Drawing from personal history, her photographs, video installations, and photobooks raise questions about how we build and sustain 'community.' Central to her practice is an examination of the interdependent relationship between the individual and the group and how landscape shapes identity.

Mehrfar's works have been exhibited nationally and internationally in venues such as TEDxSydney, Ethan Cohen KuBe, ClampArt, International Center of Photography (ICP), Australian Centre of Photography, State Library of New South Wales, and Obscura Festival. Stacy is the recipient of several grants, including the Joseph Robert Grant, Puffin Foundation Grant, Australian Postgraduate Award and Australian Artist Grant. She has received positive press coverage by Collector Daily, L'œil de la Photographie, British Journal of Photography, and The New Yorker, and her works are published in Der Greif, Artist Profile, and Fraction, among others. Stacy holds an MFA by Research in Photomedia from UNSW School of Art & Design in Sydney, Australia, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a certificate in Creative Practices from ICP in New York. Her second monograph, The Moon Belongs to Everyone, published by GOST Books, London (2021), was named photobook of the month for July 2021 by Leica Photographie International and one of Photo Eye's Best Books of 2021. Most recently, she was nominated for the 2022 Silver List. Stacy is currently faculty at ICP and the School of Visual Arts.

Allie Haeusslein is the Director at Pier 24 Photography in San Francisco, the largest space in the world dedicated to photography. She conceived of and edited the publication Photographers Looking at Photographs: 75 Pictures from the Pilara Foundation (2019). Her exhibition Looking Forward: Ten Years of Pier 24 Photography runs through 2023. Haeusslein’s writing has appeared in publications such as Aperture, ART21 Magazine, Book Art Review, British Journal of Photography, and Foam Magazine.

On View: January 13th - February 24th, 2023 

Location: Filter Space | 1821 W Hubbard St, Suite 207

This exhibition was partially sponsored by The Illinois Arts Council Agency, The Joseph Roberts Foundation, and The Puffin Foundation.

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