25th April – 21st June 2009
We are very pleased to present Shahryar Nashat's first institutional solo show in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Nashat is considered one of the most interesting Swiss artists of the younger generation. His exhibition «Das Beispiel» («The Example»), curated by attitudes in Geneva in 2008, recently won the first Swiss Exhibition Award of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture and the Julius Baer Foundation.
Shahryar Nashat has produced a series of new works for the Kunst Halle, making use of several media such as sculpture, photography and film. The exhibition entitled «Remains to be Seen» places its thematic focus on the male body, its traditional representation throughout art history and its display within the museum context. By means of the truncation of body parts, removal of the artwork or recycling of the remains, the artist not only makes the deconstruction process visible but also questions given structures and conventions of curatorial practice.
Parts of medieval suits of armour – symbolising protection but also suggesting war – are combined with marble pedestals and photographic images. The pieces of armour – made of light aluminium – instantly reveal their artificial nature and function, becoming theatrical props. Their fragmentation functions as a metaphor for the construction of identity, while the empty shells confront the observer with the physical absence of a real person. Truncated photographs of antique bronze sculptures, as well as marble pedestals – upon which sculptures are usually displayed in museums – become the main object of attention and are idealised as much as the absent artwork. By acknowledging the plinth, the artist enters a game where he reveals and questions the institutional context. In addition Nashat suggests the issue of the artist's role in the formation of an idealised male body and thus ponders his own responsibility as a "creator" of images which convey metaphorical content.
Nashat's latest film One more time with James (2009) was produced during the artist’s recent stay in New York where he filmed a transaction at the perfume counter of a department store. Exhibited in the last room of the Kunst Halle, the film breaks with all the visual codes that Nashat previously put in place. On an ironic note Nashat shows a male image in contrast to the rest of the exhibition. Here we encounter a moment of sensuality, but also the idea of the exploitation of vanity for commercial purposes. Two young men try out perfumes and smell each other's wrists in a choreographed ensemble where the perfume bottle is emphasised as much as the main characters, reducing them to objects, or commodities, just like the luxury item that is eventually purchased.
Shahryar Nashat (*1975 in Geneva) has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, among others, at the following institutions: Centre Pompidou, Paris (2008/2006), Galleria S.A.L.E.S., Rome (2008), silberkuppe Berlin (2008), Art Unlimited Basel (2008, 2005), Centre pour l'Image Contemporaine, Geneva (2003/2002), MUSAC, Leon (2008/2006), the Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale (2005), Museum der Moderne, Salzburg (2005), Elisabeth Kaufmann, Zurich (2006/2004/2001), Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2007, 2005, 2002), De Appel, Amsterdam (2006/2002), Frankfurter Kunstverein (2004) Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart (2005).
With the kind support of: Pro Helvetia, Marie Müller-Guarnieri-Stiftung, St. Gallen, Multigips AG, St. Gallen and George Foundation, Winterthur.