Shirana Shahbazi – Much like Zero
How real or abstract is photography? Shirana Shabazi’s work has circled around this theme for over ten years. Often she arranges her images in startling combinations. For instance, abstract colour gradations are placed alongside a double portrait, followed by a black and white steppe-like landscape, then a still life with berries and fruits, and finally two carpets, stitched together from photographs of a young man and a sun-soaked landscape. This sequence demonstrates how much she repeatedly wrestles with the question of representation in photography, and how she plays with it in front of vividly coloured, monochromatic backgrounds.
More recently the play and wrestling with representational traps of photography have given way to an obvious delight in the visually abstract image. An unrestrained construction of coloured surfaces emerges, producing a fascinating as well as confusing game between surface and depth. Freely but precisely arranged color planed, constructed in the studio by combining geometric expanses of color, are placed alongside images of rocks, mountains, and landscapes. Structural similarities between outside and inside, between observed landscape and constructed landscape are arranged in a relationship to one another. Everything is construction, everything is abstract: both the documentary and the still life; the unrestrained forms open up new pictorial and conceptual spaces.
The exhibition was curated by Urs Stahel.