While walking around a museum gallery, Pej Behdarvand came upon a room of busts and sculptures. All the pieces were at least over a century old. However, annoyance followed him around the gallery, as he could not get a clear perspective or photographic angle without the room or the lights reflecting on the Plexiglas cube surrounding each objet d’art.
This clear box—integral in exhibition of antiquities—functions not only as a barrier between the artwork and viewer, but conversely also as a physical plane where past and present meet.
Over the next few years, Pej was compelled to revisit the gallery space, maneuvering around each Plexiglas to photograph the captured sculptures, and ponder my connection to them.
Later while reexamining all the images composed in camera, another dimension of the series emerged in his eyes. This retrospective process straddled a few different time periods, the last occurring amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. In imposed lockdown, he found connection: Studying his gallery-visit photos, he was also captured, isolated, trapped, stuck in a space and a time, reflecting on the layers of creation and artifact.
Though partly conceived throughout this historical global event, his photo documents are everlasting in their isolation—as are their primary sources under Plexiglas—rich with future possibilities and connections.
ENCOUNTERS uses photography as a medium to explore the relationship of time and perspective as well as to challenge traditional concepts of portraiture.