"Tehran North," Shirana Shahbazi's latest photo-project from October 2015, is a subjective road movie captured from a car driving through the Iranian capital at night. Designed by NORM (Zurich), it offers a black and white kaleidoscopic vision of Tehran's urban landscape. "Camera Austria" publisher and director Reinhard Braun characterizes it as "a film noir traversing a megacity that, although remote and unknown to many, seems to be as common as others." He continues: "Housing areas, illuminated shops and billboards, highways, facades vanish either in darkness either in bright light, slipping away from any decisive representation. Uncanny encounters clash with everyday banality. The mysterious is at the same time forced and undermined, suppressing any exoticism. Beauty is shaking knowledge, as fascination is shaking distant objectiveness, and vice versa. Both an inventory and a construction, highly artificial and generic, Tehran North ends with nearly unidentifiable shapes and almost slides into darkness. But this is not a statement of finishing, it is an introduction to all the other possible images to follow up."
"Shahbazi's work cannot be pinned down to any specific visual context, genre, technique, or aesthetics. Her path from documentary to seemingly abstract images and studio photography nevertheless revolves around a coherent engagement with what might be called an equality of appearance. She demonstrates how it is possible to bridge apparent contradictions within ostensible disparate regimes of photography thanks to a montage that constellates photographs that might otherwise not be associated. Avoiding an understanding of photography driven by separating one image in contrast to the other she seems instead to constantly track one picture within another."
Born in Tehran in 1974, Shirana Shahbazi moved to Germany at the age of 11. She studied photography in Dortmund and Zurich, where she lives and works today. She took part in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and has had exhibitions in notable museums including Kunsthalle Bern (2014), The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012/2013), Fotomuseum Winterthur (2011), New Museum, New York (2011), the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2008).