It is both something and nothing that Shahin Afrassiabi points us towards as “Radical Substance“: the viewer is placed at point zero as the artworks‘ point of departure.
Afrassiabi displaces and filters out central components: materiality, construction, medium and ultimately, the meaning itself. It is about the neutral essence of things, sometimes even beyond control. Radical substance turns out to be the very gesture of the exhibition as such which Afrassiabi uses to invite the viewer into discussion, a gesture that says: Make something of it! And it is here where his interest lies. How do ratios develop between pure components and their recirculated things? Which directions can they expand towards? What possibilities open up beyond narrative?
Afrassiabi expresses his reduction to the essential transparently. With discrete playfulness he hides the foreground and background between the actual matter and the layers placed over it. That which exists is put into question and manifests itself simultaneously with conspicuous certainty. The wood and fabric structures fuse with the wall while also creating a counterpart to it. The artwork becomes rudimentary, carrying the potential for diverse appendages – whether in material reality, the imagination, or the virtual world: a projection onto itself.
The artist does not distinguish between the media he works in. The individual pieces retain their own characteristics, and together result in a game of different types of images and associations. A single dress becomes an installation. By that he means: „The Dress is a Building“, and projects an image taken in the past, of a Google Street View camera onto fabric and finally onto the body of a real woman. The filtered image of a person chosen at random materializes in the flesh in the here and now – from the universal to the particular – and through photographic documentation back to the image. The fabric ends up as ephemeral matter, placed on a wooden plinth, as part of the exhibition‘s installation, bringing it back to the discourses’ neutral point of departure.