les presses du réel

First Things First

Shirana Shahbazi - First Things First
A non-hierarchical selection of photographic works created over the past ten years by the Iranian artist (catalogue).
The catalogue First Things First comprises a selection of images from a number of Shirana Shahbazi's photographic series created over the past ten years. The presentation of some fifty works is not necessarily categorically or linearly organized; rather, it appears completely free of hierarchy, with photographic styles, subjects, and techniques displayed on equal footing. First Things First emphasizes a juxtapositional approach, a dynamic and free arrangement of various subjects and styles: unspectacular landscapes are placed alongside fruit and flower still lifes; seemingly casual urban scenes sit alongside geometric shapes; colored compositions are in contrast to black-and-white images.
In her work, Shahbazi generates a complex interplay between images through her surprising and innovative compositions. The photographic arrangements build unexpected bridges between images and ideas to create both a balance and a tension, and to offer an alternative way of looking at the world around us.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition at KINDL – Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst, Berlin, from April 2 to August 6, 2017.

Awarded: “Most Beautiful Swiss Books 2017”.
Born 1974 in Tehran, Shirana Shahbazi moved to Germany when she was a child. Today she is based in Zurich. Trained as a photographer, Shahbazi shoots images – including portraits, still lifes and landscapes – and often uses them as source material not only for photographs but also for paintings, billboards or handmade carpets. By altering the scale and transposing the imagery into a new medium or a style associated with another culture, she subverts viewers' expectations and explores the complexity of identity.
Shirana Shahbazi's oeuvre reflects an ongoing interest in the relationship between images, their surfaces and their objecthood, as well as between the various artistic media and their apparent iconic qualities. Her pictures range from color-field abstractions to volatile holiday snapshots. The artist has assembled a population of images, which handles an equal weight as a dispersed as well as a coherent body of work. This showcases an impressive transitional quality, a mastery which Shirana Shahbazi hasn't yet grown tired to pursue. From heavy frames to delicate litho-prints, her projects talk in fragments about the artist's genuine engagement with issues of representation as well as the presentation of images themselves.
For her works she has received prestigious prizes, such as the Citigroup Private Bank Photography Prize (2002). She took part in the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and has had exhibitions in notable museums e.g.: Museum of Modern Art, New York (2012/2013), Fotomuseum Winterthur (2011), New Museum, New York (2011), The Hammer Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles (2008), Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2008), Barbican Art Gallery, London (2007), Centre d'Art Contemporain, Genf (2005), Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago (2003).
Shirana Shahbazi is a member of the artists collective Shahrzad.
Edited by Andreas Fiedler.
Contributions by Jens Asthoff and Andreas Fiedler.

Graphic design: Norm, Zurich.
published in July 2017
bilingual edition (English / German)
24 x 32 cm (hardcover, cloth binding)
24 pages (47 color ill.)
ISBN : 978-3-95679-324-0
EAN : 9783956793240
sold out
topicsShirana Shahbazi: other titles

Shirana Shahbazi: also present in

 top of page