Event

SHIRANA SHAHBAZI

Fotogalleriet is pleased to announce its forthcoming solo exhibition with Zurich-based artist Shirana Shahbazi. Shahbazi’s exhibition is the last main exhibition of Fotogalleriet’s anniversary year programme, which aims to reflect on its own existence by mapping a constellation of photographic usages and presentation formats. With the opening of Shahbazi’s exhibition, a dialogue is again established with the Nordic Anthology exhibitions and Camera Movement film- and video programme. Nordic Anthology #13 is curated by Itonje Søimer Guttormsen to re-contextualise the work of feminist filmmaker Vibeke Løkkeberg. Lene Berg’s Kopfkino (curated by Karoline Ugelstad) is shown as part of Camera Movement.

Shirana Shahbazi’s exhibition at Fotogalleriet immerses the visitor in a complex and intriguing universe of photographic images of varying motifs, techniques and formats. Set up in a salon-style presentation, Shirana Shahbazi has selected nearly fifty art works in collaboration with Fotogalleriet from her own oeuvre, incorporating works from the 1990s until today, thus spanning over a period of twenty years. The result is a montage of photographic images that gives the viewer the possibility not only to deeply engage with Shahbazi’s overall work, but also reflect on what a photograph can be, what it can represent and which qualities it can acquire.

Shahbazi’s work thus does not present a fixed idea of photography, but rather gives an idea of the photographic: geometric compositions go in dialogue with portraits, landscapes, still life motifs, as well as monochromatic works. Some photographs have documentary qualities, while others clearly reference art historical subject matter and create a reciprocal relationship to other artistic media such as painting and sculpture. At the same time, the physical exhibition space determines how the works relate to each other and provide hitherto invisible constellations. As a result, the photographs can be seen both as individual works and in connection with one another.

A significant characteristic of Shahbazi’s work is that none of the photographs are found images or dependent on arbitrariness. Each photograph is carefully conceived and composed, which becomes especially visible in works that are repetitively entitled Komposition, Monstera, Stilleben or Schmetterling. While one appears to be immediately seduced by the imagery, different socio-cultural connotations slowly emerge and conjure associations that initially are not visible. Schmetterling is not just a butterfly, it is a representation of a butterfly that evokes the sealed, collectible object of the lepidopterist. Frucht is not only playing with the art historical genre of the still life, it also comments on the glossiness and perfection desired in our contemporary media culture. And Monstera appears as an exotic, aestheticized plant that ironically enough is also called The Swiss cheese plant.

If we then look at photographs of petrol stations, a newly wed bride, a mountainous landscape, a white cat crouching on a sofa or some palm trees we start to understand what is at stake: our physical and mental relationship to cultural constructs and the world around us. But regardless whether the objects represented are singled out in a distinct photographic image, or if they materialize through the quasi-documentary work, Shahbazi makes us question what is in front of our eyes and at the same time indicates that there are divergent realities at play.

Shirana Shahbazi (b. 1974) lives and works in Zurich. She studied photography at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund and Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst, Zurich.

Her most recent solo exhibitions took place at Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich (2017), PARKETT Editions, Zurich (2017), KINDL Center for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2017), On Stellar Rays, New York (2016), Kunsthalle Bern, Bern (2014), Cardi Black Box, Milano (2013), Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2012), Foto Kunst Stadtforum, Innsbruck, Austria (2012), New Museum, New York (2011), Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur (2011), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2010), The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2008), The Curve, Barbican Art Gallery, London (2007) and Raum für Fotografie, Sprengel Museum, Hanover (2006). Notably, her recent solo exhibition entitled Group Show at Camera Austria, Graz in 2016 relates to the exhibition at Fotogalleriet, having been the first iteration of grouping a large number of photographic works from Shahbazi’s oeuvre within one exhibition space.

Shahbazi has also participated extensively in group exhibitions, amongst them Communities, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (2017), The Other and Me, Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah (2014), Lens Drawings, Galerie Marian Goodman, Paris (2013), New Photography 2012, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013), Wunder, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg (2011), Shifting Identities, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich (2008), 4th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2006), Traveling, Hayward Gallery, London (2005) and Sharjah Biennial 7, Sharjah (2005). Shahbazi's works are represented in collections of major institutions internationally including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Tate Modern, London and Migros Museum for Contemporary Art, Zurich.

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