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Laleh Khorramian's Epic Animations

June 21, 2013

How do you create an epic tale from modest materials? At her temporary studio and home in Campbell Hall, located in upstate New York, artist Laleh Khorramian surveys the last ten years of her animated videos. In her studio she is surrounded by piles of found scrap paper and graphics as well as her own drawings, paintings, and monotypes—all source material for her animations.

Khorramian has found the monotype process, in which unique prints are created by pressing paper over painted surfaces, particularly generative. In films like Sophie & Goya (2004) and Chopperlady (2005), her monotypes become vast subterranean landscapes through which animated figures travel and explore. Scale in these films is uncanny; the figures appear both larger than life and barely visible.

Alongside family photos from her many childhood trips to Disney World, Khorramian, who grew up in Orlando, Florida, describes her teenage disillusionment with the Magic Kingdom, the realization that Disney’s all-encompassing world of mass entertainment was a huge facade—in her words a “prop”—and more insidiously a form of social control.

In Water Panics in the Sea (2011) the influence of this epiphany plays out: a giant ship, animated from collaged drawings and paintings, is unapologetically two-dimensional as it crosses an equally flat but menacing sea. The overall effect is disturbing, dystopian, and tragic. The boat, seemingly half human and half machine, is trapped on the water, engaged in some epic yet completely obscure journey.

More information and credits

Also featuring the animations I Without End (2008) and Liuto Golis (2010).


Art21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Morgan Riles & Mary Ann Toman. Cinematography: John Marton, Wesley Miller, & Nick Ravich. Sound: Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Laleh Khorramian. Music: Shahzad Ismaily. Thanks: Saira Ansari, Dylan, Heartland, Dina Ibrahim, Jamie Manza, Paul Manza, Adeeb Mohiuddin, The Third Line. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2013. All rights reserved.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Laleh Khorramian

Laleh Khorramian was born in 1974 in Tehran, Iran, was raised in Orlando, Florida, and lives and works in Los Angeles and upstate New York. With a practice rooted in the monotype skills she taught herself as a teenager, Khorramian uses drawing and collage in the construction of sets for her animated videos, in which elements of the known universe converge with the otherworldly. In addition to the videos, her alternative realities can take form as works on paper or paintings.

Comics & Animation

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