Magazine article Artforum International

Shirana Shahbazi: Centre D'art Contemporain Geneve

Magazine article Artforum International

Shirana Shahbazi: Centre D'art Contemporain Geneve

Article excerpt

An exhibition by Shirana Shahbazi unfolds like a picture book on all sides, even continuing around a corner like two pages of an unexpected layout. The photographs themselves may not seem particularly notable at first glance--the kind of thing one's seen in countless private photo albums or Internet postings. References to classical genres of painting are obvious too. These images don't hesitate to show beauty in landscapes, portraits, or still lifes with flowers, fruit, and meat. Through the particular order of the images, though, each individual motif is treated from different, sometimes surprising points of view. Several of the photos here also appeared in different contexts in a concurrent show at Galerie Bob van Orsouw in Zurich. Often an image in black-and-white, repeatedly plastered to the wall like a series of posters, serves as the background for a hanging in rows or free-form blocks or for the shifting arrangement of individual color shots. A group of images becomes a group of imaginings. Cascades of memories and fantasies flow from the individual motifs, coming together in the installation-style presentation as a thought landscape that nonetheless yields no coherent stories.

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Katja Garcia-Anton speaks of Shahbazi's "anatomy of viewing," but this ultimately also amounts to anatomy of thought. We find ourselves again in interiors and at the urban edges of rapidly growing cities, Teheran or Shanghai, only to be presented at the same time with twilit landscapes that evoke those of Caspar David Friedrich in paintings like Das Grosse Gehege bei Dresden (The Large Enclosure near Dresden), 1832. …

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