Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York is pleased to present Against the Sun: The Photographs of Tahereh Fallahzadeh and the exhibition architecture of Fia Backström, curated by Phoebe d’Heurle and Hadi Fallahpisheh, on view from June 5 until July 5, 2019.
This show unites two photographic processes, the work of Tahereh Fallahzadeh and Fia Backström. As one of the few female photographers to pursue unorthodox and experimental photography as a mode of fine art while working in an academic context in Iran, Tahereh Fallahzadeh’s work asserts a politics and an emotional resonance unique to the history of photography. Fallahzadeh’s mostly small scale traditional darkroom photographs combine elements of collage, photograms, and chemical marks through intuitive processes in a distinct manner that feels as much rooted in the history of photography as it is in a contemporary discourse. Fia Backström’s work encompasses a diverse range of mediums including photography, writing, installation and performance through which she agitates the social life of language and materials. Her work oscillates between different discourses relating politics, authorship and the capacity of images to generate meaning. Backström’s work has often included unconventional exhibition designs, performative work, and frequently exists through collaboration or the incorporation of others directly into her own work.
The exhibition Against the Sun utilizes Fia Backström’s exhibition architecture, the Flexible Image Arrangement System, as the primary method for how the show displays the work of Tahereh Fallahzadeh. Backström’s unique structure suggests a way for photographic work to be taken off of the walls and thus fundamentally shifts a traditional viewing experience. The F.I.A. System consists of steel structures that stand independently within the gallery space with up to five metal arms constructed specifically to hold framed two-dimensional work. The stands can exist independently or can be connected together to form complex constellations within a gallery space; physically destabilizing a historically standard photographic exhibition. In this show, framed photographs that span the last twenty-five years of Fallahzadeh’s photographic work hang from Backström’s exhibition structure. Fallahzadeh’s unique silver gelatin darkroom prints range in size and technique and grapple with the everyday contradictions of womanhood and daily life. For this exhibition, Fallahzadeh has paired each black and white print with a selection of fabrics from her everyday life. Fallahzadeh’s decision to incorporate vibrant colorful fabrics with her photographs on the occasion of this show animates both her imagery and the visual effect of Backström’s display architecture. In the context of Fia Backström’s work, which has challenged artistic conventions over the past three decades of her career, Fallahzadeh’s work further complicates and unsettles the way we look at photographs.