Von Lintel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new photograms and sculptural negatives by Farrah Karapetian. This marks the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Narratives associated with unrest have long motivated Karapetian as an artist, and this year, she has been trying to build herself out of a state of demoralization, into a new understanding of the politics of space and the role of participation and exchange in politics. She began considering the relationship between flags and territory. Flags and walls signify territory, serving as political devices for separation. On the other hand, walls provide shelter; on a personal level and a political level, the artist recognizes the need for both a building and a dismantling of walls.
Karapetian began to explore this concept by creating sculptural negatives out of rebar in the shape of cinderblocks. She limited the palette of light on the photograms of these blocks to red, white, and blue. She then built and unbuilt the blocks through multiple iterations of photogram on film and paper. The photograms that result from this process are as beautiful as they are thoughtful, with a naturally diversified palette, sometimes like a rainbow. As David Pagel described in the Los Angeles Times, Karapetian’s work gives viewers “plenty to look at and even more to wonder about, [making] a virtue of uncertainty.”
Karapetian is known for making photography physical. To “rematerialize photography”, as Leah Ollman explained in an article in Art in America about Karapetian and other photographic artists committed to the objecthood of the photograph, is to change the game, to make of it a slow, thoughtful process that builds on itself, actively engaging, in Karapetian’s case, the subject of the work in the process of its own representation.
Karapetian was born in Marin, CA, in 1978. She received a BA from Yale and an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles. Karapetian will spend several months in Russia on a Fulbright fellowship in 2018. Her work is held in public collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.