Living and Working Place | Tehran and Chicago  
Email | rambod.vala@gmail.com



EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
Master of Fine Arts | Art Theory and Practice | Northwestern University | Evanston | USA | 2015
Bachelor of Fine Arts | Visual Communication | Enghelab College of Art and Architecture | Tehran | Iran | 2011
Associate’s Degree| Computer Graphics | Tehran Information Technology Institute | Tehran | Iran | 2008







TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Instructor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago | Visual Communication: Revolution will be designed | Summer 2016
Instructor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago | Visual Communication: Rethinking Ad Culture | Spring 2016
Lecture and Screening | Graphic Design Graduate Class | University of Illinois at Chicago | USA | Fall 2015
Lecture and Screening | Art Appreciation Class | Truman College | Chicago | USA |Summer 2015
Instructor | Adobe Creative Suite Practicum | Northwestern University | Spring 2014 and 2015
Teacher Assistant | Introduction to Painting | Northwestern University |Spring 2015
Teacher Assistant | Introduction to Time-based Media | Northwestern University | Fall 2014


EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE
Graphic Designer at Kadist Art Foundation |San Francisco| Aug. 2015-Current
Studio Manager at Inigo Manglano-Ovalle’s Studio |Chicago| Aug. 2015-Current
Video Editor at Jason Salavon’s Studio | Chicago | Sep. 2015 – Mar. 2016
Artist Assistant at Irena Haiduk’s Studio | Chicago | Summer 2015
Graphic Designer at Studio Tehran | Nov. 2007 – Jun. 2013
Graphic Designer at Studio Kargah | Tehran | Mar. 2010 – May 2010


EXHIBITIONS/
PRESENTATIONS
Front & Center | Group Exhibition | HydePark Art Center | Chicago | 2017
Challenges of Imagination | Lecture-Performance | Yerba Buena Center for the Arts | San Francisco | 2017
Dangerous Professors | Group Exhibition | Triumph Gallery | Chicago | 2017
Reproducibles |  Espacio El Dorado | Bogotá | Colombia | 2017
AZAD | Azad Art Gallery Collaborative Design Project | Graphic Design Festival Paris | Musée Des Arts Décoratifs | Paris | France | 2017
Lucid Figurations: Movie Poster and Film Art Symposium | Block Museum | Evanston | USA | 2016
AZAD | Azad Art Gallery Collaborative Design Project | Hinterland Galerie | Vienna | Austria | 2016
Wake-Up Stories | CLUB SOLO | BREDA | NETHERLANDS | 2016
Lucchiche (shimmering): A Video Art Symposium | Ponte di Ferro | Carrara | Italy | 2016
Signs from Iran | Museum for Islamic Art | Jerusalem | 2016
Visual Arts Exhibition | Luminarts Cultural Foundation | Chicago | 2016
Authoritative Design | Azad Art Gallery Collaborative Design Project | Sheikh Zayed Gallery | Beirut | Lebanon | 2016
Limited Access 6 | Festival of moving images, sound and performance | Tehran | Iran | 2016
Age of Consent | Block Museum | Evanston | USA | 2015
Post Past | Invitational Poster Exhibition | Hermitage Museum | St. Petersburg | Russia | 2015
Chiran | An Invitational Poster Exhibition | Gorgan, Iran and Shanxi University, China | 2015
Talk and Screening of Shahed | Persian Discussion Nights | Northwestern University | 2015
12th Festival of "Image of the Year" | Invitational Poster Exhibition | Tehran | Iran | 2015
To Forget | Screening of "Dey" Night | Temple University | Rome | Italy | 2015
Drawing Words | Typographic Posters Exhibition | Tel Aviv | Israel | 2014
Parishani | Screening of "Dey" Night | Art Cinema OFFoff | Belgium | 2014
Golden Bee 11 | Global Bienniale of Graphic Design | Moscow | Russia | 2014
11th Festival of "Image of the Year" | Invitational Poster Exhibition | Tehran | Iran | 2014
Surveilling the Naked City | Video Art from Tehran | Oslo | Norway | 2013
The 6th China International Poster Biennial | Hangzhou | China | 2013
2nd MUIP Biennial | Marmara University International Poster Biennial | Istanbul | Turkey | 2012
Video-Therapy, Session one: Recovery | Video Screening | Stueben Gallery, Pratt Institute | New York | USA | 2012
Right to Left | Graphic Design from the Arab World and Iran | Berlin | Germany | 2012
TehraNYC | Group Exhibition | New York | USA | 2012
The 5th China International Poster Biennial | Hangzhou | China | 2011
The 5th Taiwan International Poster Design Award | Taiwan | 2011
Pattern | A Group Poster Exhibition Titled| Yazd | Iran | 2011
2nd Chicago International Poster Biennial | USA | 2010
The 3rd Festival of Damoonfar(Faber-Castell) Visual Arts | Tehran | Iran | 2010
Golden Bee 9, Moscow International Biennale of Graphic Design | Russia | 2010
Divarkoob Group Poster Exhibition | Isfahan, Shirza, Mashad, Tehran | Iran | 2010
21st Chaumont International Poster Festival Competition | France | 2010
Group exhibition titled “Tarahane Azad” | Azad Art Gallery | Tehran | Iran | 2010
“Generazione Verde” Group Poster Exhibition (Graphic Designers Born After the 1979 Revolution in Iran) | Cartacanta Festival Expo | Civitanova Marche | Italy | 2009
The 3rd International Graphic Biennial of the Islamic World | Tehran | Iran | 2009
The 7th Trnava International Poster Triennial | Slovakia | 2009
The 3rd World Biennial Exhibition of Student Posters | Novi Sad | Serbia | 2008
Good 50X70 Poster Exhibition (STDs Category) | Milan | Italy | 2008
The 2nd Int’l Annual Exhibition of Dictionary Illustrations | Tehran | Iran | 2007



AWARDS/FELLOWSHIPS
Center Program | HydePark Art Center | Chicago 2017
Luminarts Fellowship | Luminarts Cultural Foundation | Chicago | 2016
Edes Runner-up Prize | The Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Foundation | 2016
University Fellow | Northwestern University | Evanston | USA | 2013-2015
Stephan Bundi Jury Award | The 5th China International Poster Biennial | 2011
Typographic Excellence | The 2nd Chicago International Poster Biennial | 2010
Runner-up Award | the 3rd Damoonfar (Faber-Castell) Visual Arts Festival | Iran| 2010


SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Bi-Scriptual | Germany | 2017
X/I Ten Words and One Shot | Eltville, Germany | 2015
Type Plus | Unit Editions | London | 2014
Trunk Volume II: Blood | Trunk Books | Australia | 2012
Arabesque 2 - Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia | Die Gestalten | 2011
Talk Magazine issue 17 | Iranian e-magazine of visual arts | 2011






It is almost expected, perhaps that I, as an artist, start my statement by mentioning my nationality, because the name of the nation will immediately conjure up a spectrum of mixed-up emotions to the reader. She will be partially curious, politically engaged, touched and hopefully convinced that the traces of this facet of my identity has enriched both my practice and the host institution’s diversity. However, the excitement and curiosity of such understanding is not the type of engagement my work calls for.



Let us imagine two cliffs standing in front of each other, separated by an abyss, a great gap. And let’s further assume that each cliff represents a polarity: each cliff is the antithesis of the other. The first thought that comes to mind is reaching the other side by a bridge. This bridge, however, does not necessarily become the object of understanding simply because it connects the two. It is rather an object of curiosity, a pathway for more discoveries. And discoveries are, of course, full of misunderstanding. This misunderstanding becomes that abstract object of art that can be interpreted infinitely, and the bridge is that misleading conduit for misinterpretation.



But if we dismantle the idea of the bridge and never intend to have one, the existence of the gap becomes the basis for a concrete rather than abstract understanding. Instead of the simple act of crossing over and with it the illusion of the mutual connection, let’s consider a collapse as a demonstration of the existence of a gap. A gap out of which one may generate production, develop lines of flight, new possibilities for engaging with alterity. It all unfolds within this gap or in-between-ness. The struggle to produce, rather than arrive at, an understanding is at the cornerstone of my practice.


As a graphic designer, I am provided with content that does not require my allegiance or belief. As an artist I  function both as the designer and the content provider. I may be bridging these fields or may have collapsed them, but what is certain is that the gap is filled with images, objects, texts, theories and stories that have eroded and tumbled down from both cliffs.



My work is generated from the debris of this binary avalanche. Whether as a result of decay, deterioration or nascent protuberance, the digital image — complemented by voice and storytelling — is my primary material. I am propelled by the gravity of events. A short, partial list of things that have cascaded into the gap, and keep falling from both cliffs: love, identity, immigration, forgery, labor, vulnerability and institutional critique.



My work is an attempt to graft the two cliffs onto each other through the character of a migrant and an imposter. The videos are all structured as love stories and poetic narratives that unfold between territories and people who can neither stay nor are able to leave. Dwarfed on either side by a precipice they are constantly pushed and pulled, attracted and repelled as they negotiate positions, identities and fidelities.