Shirana Shahbazi

KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art
Am Sudhaus 3
April 2, 2017–August 6, 2017

Shirana Shahbazi, [Frucht-03-2007] (Fruit-03-2007), C-print on aluminum, 47 x 59".

While hardly anyone still believes in photography’s claim to truth these days, the medium continues to renew its promise of authenticity. The contention that images, identities, and worlds are constructed has long been evident––even analog photography has for some time now had to account for it. Rather than clinging to that discussion, Shirana Shahbazi’s pictures take as their point of departure the material world, never completely breaking away from their relationship to objects. In this exhibition, thirty-five photographs are seemingly displayed at random, but each’s presentation is deliberate and should be perceived as such. Within the disparate arrangement and heterogeneous imagery, there are still lifes of extreme artificiality and simplicity, including [Frucht-03-2007] (Fruit-03-2007) and [Magnolie-04-2013] (Magnolia-04-2013), as well as examples of geometric abstraction—[Objekt-25-2013] (Object-25-2013) and [Kreise-02-2014] (Circles-02-2014).

Elsewhere are two-tone lithographs of fleeting landscapes and vistas of travel, such as [Wellen] (Waves) and [Wüste] (Desert), both 2014. In the case of the abstract [Raster-01-2013] (Grid-01-2013), a reduction is achieved alongside the creation of a complex play between the impression of flatness and space. Shahbazi’s photographs are all marked by their disparate nature: The images feel controlled, improvised, logical, and baffling all at once. This show can be taken as ironic and, at the same time, as an expression of radical rigor. What is chiefly important here is equivalence, the illusion of classification, and freedom from hierarchy.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.

— Melissa Canbaz