The Breeder is delighted to present the first solo exhibition in Greece by Iranian photographer Shirana Shahbazi.
Inspired by old masters Shirana Shahbazi stages and rearranges still lifes, which she photographs and develops in spatial installations in combination with other photos. Motifs such as skulls, shell, butterflies and fruit are feautured often in Shahbazi’s work. The artist estranges these symbols from their usual context and allows their pictorial quality to assume greater prominence. As curator Katya Garcia Anton states “Shahbazi’s images do not focus on the essential of the subject photographed, as was usual in modernist photography, but on the process of its identification and, as a result, her work presents the spectator with a veritable anatomy of viewing.”
Given Shahbazi’s emphasis on the constructed aspect of photography, it’s not surprising that she is influenced by the Conceptualism of German photographers such as Thomas Struth and Thomas Ruff. For the black and white still life “From the Series Flowers, Fruits & Portraits, [Stilleben-26-2008]” the artist has used as one of her fonts of inspiration the painting “Still Life with Shells” by Balthasar van der Ast (1593-1657), while in the abstract multi coloured geometric work the reference to Piet Mondriaan is clear. Setting these objects against a striking background gives them a contemporary twist that results in a startling impact. With the way she presents her work Shahbazi explores relations between individual photographs. A black and white photograph of a dessert landscape is juxtaposed with a bright yellow and black geometric image, a gesture that evokes multiple readings for both works.
The language developed by Shahbazi in her work, allows for her subjects to have a distinct dignity in the contemporary image saturated world. A triple translation, as art critic Michele Robecchi notes, through which the artist stages her own allegory of memory and time, making visible the redefinitions that take place when memories overlap. Yet Shahbazi’s pictures, according to curator Beatrix Ruff are “unpolitical”, in the sense that no opinions or evaluations are suggested and no final interpretations are possible, but they are “political” in that they make room for hybrids and set a course for open-ended discourse that is vital to civilization today.
Shirana Shahbazi was born in Tehran in 1974 and she now lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. She has presented her work is solo exhibitions at The Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles (2008), in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2008), in the Barbican Art Gallery London (2007), in the Swiss Institute in NY (2007), in Sprengel Museum in Hannover (2006), in Milton Keynes Art Gallery (2006), in Center d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (2005), in The Wrong Gallery, NY (2005), in the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (2003). Her work is included in numerous public collection, among them are the Tate Modern in London, MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contremporaneo de Castilla y Leon, Spain, The National Museum of Photography in Copenhagen, Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, Fotomuseum Winterhur and Kunstmuseum Thun in Switzerland, the Photographer’s Gallery in London and Helmhaus in Zurich.