Shirana Shahbazi

Shirana Shahbazi, "Raum-Grün-01", 2017, C-print on aluminium, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Milchmann, Zurich

Shirana Shahbazi, Raum-Grün-01, 2017, C-print on aluminium, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Milchmann, Zurich


Shirana Shahbazi

Shirana Shahbazi uses the entire range of the photographic medium’s technical means of reproduction. From C-print, lithography and photorealistic painting to hand-knotted adaptation of subjects – there is hardly any analogue method she has not applied. Conceptually, her colourful, partly large-format works are often closer to painting than to photography. Especially in those works which she arranges in her studio but also in her abstract photographies, the focus is not on the portrayed subject. By means of her photographic compositions, she enquires about the aspects which enable us to “read” and comprehend a picture.

With the construction of her impressive visual spaces, Shahbazi explores the capacity to perceive things with and through colours. Even though many of her works can be organized in classic categories such as still life, landscape, portrait, or abstraction, they are little concerned with the depiction of reality or with any iconographic narration. Rather, the artist creates images of structural longing and reminiscence, which present the act of perceiving as an experience. Her creation of pictures is always based on photographic representations; in the end, however, it is the individual choice of the medium and its technical reproduction which determine the reality of the displayed image considerably. Shahbazi liberates it from its dependence on the reality which precedes the photo.

The artist either encounters the subjects of her prints as snapshots on travels or creates them as precise compositions in her studio. Her imagery overdraws reality in its perfection and stylization as well as in its fleeting nature; nonetheless her pictures seem immensely familiar. In Shahbazi’s work, nature, both wild and tamed, is reflected as an experience which is always culturally and socially determined. It is the colour that gives the images their specific temporality; sometimes as patina, sometimes as a two-dimensional, abstract present.

Although Shahbazi works with analogue techniques, she presents her subjects exclusively in a non-hierarchical manner, similar to many digital platforms where boundaries between private, documentary, or commercial visuals blur into a continuous stream of images. The exhibition space is an important element of her artistic practice shaping the perception of her photos. Coloured walls build the ground for Shahbazi’s compositional installations and allow a sometimes linear, sometimes „all over“ reading of the diverse subjects. Through the varying constellation of those subjects and their changing arrangements, her exhibitions continually set new site-specific accentuations.

The Kunsthaus Hamburg is presenting an extensive solo-exhibition with the artist’s most recent works.

*1974, Teheran
Grew up in Germany
Studied in Dortmund and Zurich
Lives in Zurich


The exhibition is part of

Triennale der Photographie Hamburg 2018