Karla Black | Babak Ghazi

12 Mar –
10 Apr

Press release

S1 / projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of newly commissioned work by Karla Black and Babak Ghazi.

Karla Black’s work is encoded with subjective experience, juxtaposing sculpture that may at first glance resemble the residue of absent-minded play with harder supportive elements: a plinth, a frame, a stage. Vaseline, paint, plaster, dough or dirt may be carefully worked to formless beauty, paper wet and softened to become a delicate membrane. Black’s sculptures appear to evidence a physical act of material engagement, conscious of a parent generation of feminist performance and abstract expressionism. Elements of Black’s work appear to be in dialogue with each other, painterly matter may sit on glass or stained and varnished wood, seeming to assert the independence of work from the creative act, a series of sculptures may be placed or titled to assume a precarious collective status. Black’s work attempts to impart something that exists between the work and its encounters, quietly ushering in moments of recognition at the edge of our thoughts.

Notions of excess and limitation seem to reoccur in Babak Ghazi’s work. There are so many choices, so much freedom and free will that the options appear to have been exhausted and there is no choice at all. A proliferation of glossy adverts, Versace, Armani, Dior, present models uniformly clad in sunglasses made from fragments of Compact Discs. An early geometric Vidal Sassoon haircut, an image from a photo-shoot with Prince or Grace Jones; emblems of self-definition in Ghazi’s visual lexicon of “the theatre of the self”. The individual appears to be constructed by careful navigation along a path of options, some are ready-made; others are flat-packed or exist as a set of instructions or a variably described possibility, imagined through a creative act. Ghazi’s work frequently takes on this last category as an image of pseudo-transgression, a DIY culture skilfully articulated in terms of its alternativeness, make your own, grow your own, roll your own. In dialogue with a notion of lifestyle tending towards specialised behaviour, Ghazi’s work seems to offer the potential for engaging the viewer in the production of meaning. His sculptures may invite interaction (you can straddle a chair and see your crotch reflected in the mirror behind an image from The Joy of Sex) other works may sample symbols and objects in a hybrid fashion that offers little orientation towards one single interpretation, so that unitary meaning may shift in emphasis, enlarging the capacity to interrelate with other works.

Karla Black studied at Glasgow School of Art. Recent exhibitions include Transmission Gallery Glasgow, Pallas at the Changing Room Gallery, Stirling and EAST international at Norwich Gallery. Karla Black lives in Glasgow.

Babak Ghazi studied at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated from the MA programme at Chelsea College of Art in 2001. Solo exhibitions include Counter Gallery and Tablet Gallery, London and recent collaborative projects include The Principle of Hope at Three Colts Gallery, London and an evening of performance at The Ship, London. Babak Ghazi lives in London.