Danziger Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo exhibition of work by the Los Angeles based artist Farrah Karapetian. Since 2002, Karapetian has been exploring the form of the photogram to create unique large scale cameraless works that blend performance and photographic process.
Her subjects are both personal and political. In the 2011 series “Accessory to Protest:”, the taking off point was a news photograph of police in Kyrgyzstan being stoned by protesters Karapetian recreated the image with friends posing as police in her studio. In 2013, the focus of the work was the muscle memory of U.S. Armed Forces veterans and their relationship to their weapons – once again using real people to create life size cameraless works. In her newest series, “Stagecraft”, which will be exhibited in all three rooms of the gallery, Karapetian combines the idea of music, performance, and the form of musical instruments to produce luminously colored images. Using both real instruments and a skeletal and translucent drum set fabricated by the artist, Karapetian alternates abstracted still lives of instruments with life size photograms of musicians, often caught at moments of rest before or after the implication of sound.
Reviewing this work in the Los Angeles Times, critic Leah Ollman wrote:
Her images speak in questions, equally addressing eye and mind. Photograms in saturated emerald, aqua and gold on matte or metallic paper elicit an immediate how? and what? They are as physically beautiful as they are conceptually ticklish.
Karapetian's overt subject is the musical instrument in performance, but her attention is most acutely fixed on photography's multiplicitous relationship to the real. Her images are at once impressions ￼and traces, inventions and records.
The most arresting depict a drum kit (sometimes being played, sometimes not), the armatures coming across as white silhouettes, the cymbals as gauzy disks. The actual set used in making the pictures is here too, a fabrication that Karapetian refers to as a “sculptural negative.” The cymbals are cast in clear, ruby and grape glass, the drums mere metal frameworks with neither sides nor skins. Light projected up through the pieces onto the wall delivers rich shadows and refractions, the cymbals generating dappled and veined orbs suggesting astronomical bodies or jellyfish. These images are performances of performances, visual stagings, enactments. However contrived, they bear the photographic pedigree of veracity, vexed as it is. And — they are gorgeous. In those weird, liquid ripples and diaphanous blurs, time and space seem to reveal something of their true, elusive nature.
Karapetian was born in Marin, CA, in 1978. She received a BA from Yale and an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles. Recent exhibitions include the Armory Center for the Arts in Pasadena, CA; the Torrance Art Museum in Torrance, CA; the UCR/California Museum of Photography in Riverside, CA; and the Orange County
Museum of Art.