Shahryar Nashat (b. 1975)

Modern Body Comedy (2006)
Plaque (Slab) (2007)
Factor Green (2011)

In his sculptures, photographs and films, Shahryar Nashat often addresses the representation of the body in art history and the conventions of mediation and presentation. 

He exploits the agency of the artist to present a subjective sequence of past objects and images that disassembles linear chronology, and seeks to transform and re-inscribe pre-existing artifacts with sensual (and thus urgent or present) significance. Nashat finds great pleasure in details, and his works—with their near-obsessive methods of framing and cropping — draw the viewer into a world of clandestine forms, artful gestures and posturing. 

The ekphrastic impulse of his practice – the sympathetic relationship where one mode, form, or medium is used as a surrogate for another, therefore invoking similitude and difference with the original object – often employs a queer theatricality. An empty plinth is a stand-in for the absent figure, where the otherwise marginal apparatus of display is presented as a highly aestheticised and sultry substitute; or else a feminised dancer’s body is made ornamental, and the photographic subject apes classical sculpture. Yet despite the expressive potential of Nashat’s subjects, the images deny sentimentality and nostalgia. As the artist notes, ‘I can’t help but chop its top off, at thigh, calf or foot-height.’

Shahryar Nashat grew up in Switzerland. Before moving to Berlin, he spent two years at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2001-2002). Since then, his work has been included in many solo and group exhibitions including Silberkuppe, Berlin (2012), CCA Wattis (2012), Detroit Museum of Art (2012), Rodeo, Istanbul (2011), Venice Biennale (2005 and 2011), Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel (2011), Kunsthaus Zurich (2011), Studio Voltaire (2011), Frieze Projects (2010), Kunstverein Nürnberg (2010), Kunsthal Bergen (2010), Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen (2009), Art Unlimited (2009), Elisabeth Kaufmann, Zurich (2009), Attitudes, Geneva (2009). Since 2011, he often collaborates with choreographer and rapper Adam Linder.