The characteristic feature of Ali Zanjani‘s work is choosing physical metaphors which result in the selection and censorship of still from a roll of moving images: images of men from an educational wrestling film who seem to be praying (Pray); the wrapped bodies of opponents in the wrestling exercises (Just Between Us); a young girl with static hair (“Static” Pregnancy); and proving the moment of ecstasy (Out of Sight). In other words, in the artist’s previous series, selecting images was equal to selecting moments. Yet here, Military Makeupexamines the archive of a photography studio and is thus different form the artist’s previous work; the studio ID photos seem random and do not reveal before and after moments. Ultimately, the nature of the archive which has yielded Military Makeup, makes the study of the deeper layers of the image-archive possible. The images of the soldiers, have a conceptual and photographic relationship with the artist’s previous bodies of work; however, it would seem that the artist, by selecting these manipulated images insists upon the ambiguous facet of making a photo/archive. Photographs which were meant to have served as documents for the completion of military service, are images that although they are being issued as printed photographs, however, their manipulation in the printing process (using red markers and pencils), ultimately makes them look like photographic images. The manipulation process rests between the negative (transforming the three-dimensional space into a negative two-dimensional image) and the positive image (transforming the two-dimensional negative image to the final photograph) and disrupts their documentary purpose. In this manner, the artist in a parallel process, as in his previous works, bestows a new purpose to the images which for the first time in Military Makeup focuses on the archival aspect of the photographs. Further, the delicate, physical and of course inconsiderate relationship between the photographer and the soldier (similar to the one in Just Between Us) is visible.
Ali Zanjani: Military Makeup
January 25, 2019 – March 1, 2019.
#43 South Azodi Street
Karim Khan Street