The Moon Belongs to Everyone
Stacy Arezou Mehrfar
Filter Space, Chicago
January 13th - February 24th, 2023
Curated by Allie Haeusslein
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.
— Allie Haeusslein