Curated by Katja Schroeder, Objects in Mirror Are Closer than They Appear features works by Zurich-based Iranian photographer Shirana Shahbazi that creates autonomous pictorial realities. Blurring the boundaries between the medium’s ability to produce precise documentations of reality, equally as well as ephemeral, subjective moments, Shahbazi’s imagery brings the arbitrary nature of depiction and perception into consideration.
Focusing on subjects such as nature, space and life, Shahbazi’s technical, abstract compositions reinforce how experience and interpretation are formed by pre-existing social and cultural values. Understanding is a construction, not a result, and her photography expresses this through a mix of vivid colour and sharp black-and-white contrasts, hung throughout the exhibition to strategically dismiss narrative in favour of “comprehensive picture-space-structure”, explains the curatorial concept.
The works on show at Kunsthaus Hamburg hone in on space as an abstract construct, as well as lived urbanity. Photographs and silkscreens may present recognisable elements – figures, Tehran at night – but through several modes of reproduction, Shahbazi renders them illegible, relegating them to their core light and shadow forms, as though one were squinting in a space that lacks scale and perspective. Contrary to the reductionist aesthetic, there is meticulous execution and composition at play – Shahbazi intends to confuse the limits between the reality of the image, her artistic manipulation, and comprehensibility within each individual’s schemata.
Shirana Shahbazi’s 'Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear' runs until 26 August at Kunsthaus Hamburg, part of the 7th Triennial of Photography Hamburg. Kunsthaushamberg.de