Saturday, April 23, 2016

Photographic Abuse

"I used Photoshop to create images
but I used it in a way that people who do image correction would not like:
I used it in an amateurish way.
Setareh Shahbazi

For the Iranian born digital artist Setareh Shahbazi the free association of ideas is integral to her work.

As she told the Middle East’s English language newspaper, The National’s Kaelen Wilson-Goldie "I really abuse photography. I even take pictures but I never show them as photographs. For me it's a way of seeing and extracting things, and putting them together in a different or theatrical way."

At the age of seven, Shahbazi and her family fled Iran for Germany, her father was on the losing side of the 1979 revolution. Over the next 25 years Shahbazi studied Scenography and Media Arts at the State Academy for Art and Design in Karlsruhe and pursued a career in the visual arts.

About which’s Negar Azimi has said “[Shahbazi] is best known for her precise, computer-generated images in Marvel Comics-inflected pastel shades that sit somewhere between the aesthetic of Pop art that of a child’s coloring book. Those works, often inspired by archival images, evoke the frame as a stage – a place of hugely unlikely encounters. And so, a lush jungle might mingle with a Corbusian housing complex, or a lion might roam around the Giza pyramids alongside an oversized naked baby. That particular image universe is a sea of moving parts, each infinitely interchangeable with the click of a mouse.”

Shahbazi now spends her time between Berlin and Beirut and travels regularly to Iran. On a trip to the country of her birth in 2009 she obtained a collection of family photographs from her early childhood in 70’s and 80’s which precipitated the creation of her Spectral Days exhibition and book.

About which she told Now.comIt was a long, long procedure of choosing which ones to work with, scanning them and working out how to work with them… I went through different phases until I found a discourse. I think the end result has really matched the aesthetic of how I do remember things... It’s not a narrative with a beginning and an end, it’s a bit trippy, it’s got flashbacks. Psychedelic bits appear and then disappear again.” 

Shahbazi’s latest works Binary is a False Idol is currently on show at Cairo’s Gypsum Gallery until the 24th of May.

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