Panteha Abareshi‘s work is rooted in the existence as a chronically ill/disabled body existing with multiple medical illnesses, at the root of which is sickle cell zero beta thalassemia – a genetic blood disorder that causes debilitating pain, and bodily deterioration that both increase with age. Their work explores the complexities of living within a body that is highly monitored, constantly examined, and made to feel like a specimen. Taking images that are recognizable as “human” forms, and reducing them to the gestural is a juxtaposition of Abareshi’s own body’s objectification, and dissection. Through performance work, they push their body to, and often beyond, the limits of its ability. In their video work and sculptural installations, Abareshi confronts the able-bodied gaze, and questions notions of consent within the dynamics of power, control and objectification between viewer and disabled body as subject. The radicalized abjectification of the normative corporeal form allows for a rigorous examination of the complexities and hierarchies within loss of ability, and its connection to a larger context of universal fragility, fear, pain and mortality. Currently, Abareshi is focusing on the disabled body as fetish object, and conducting research into disabled sexuality, and its representations within pornography and fetish materials.
Amid the blur of erotics, the jangle of poetics, and the fetishizing of sickness and disability, the heat of Panteha’s performance and sculpture freezes all.