Discreetly Living Behind Your Face

Discreetly living behind your face

20.04.2018 – 11.05.2018 Galerie 52, Folkwang-Uni, Essen, Germany.
14.04.2018 – 25.06.2018 Galerie des petits carreaux, Saint-Briac, France.

The exhibition Discreetly living behind your face results from a project undertaken by Pooya Abbasian for more than 5 years and concluded during his residency at Galerie des petits carreaux in Brittany, France. His approach, both sensible and plastic, opens up a reflexion on social norms and the search for an identity through alterity.
Inspired by the cinema of Andrei Tarkovsky and José Luis Guerín, his work challenges photography and plays with the grid driving images’ creation and diffusion. Using a singular process – analogue pictures printed thanks to a video-projector, he intends to find his way beyond technical binaries. Both a eulogy of the contemporary pixel and a reclaiming of the old cyanotype method, he intends to preserve the digital trace on analogue prints. Maybe more of a painter than a photographer, Pooya Abbasian celebrates the poetry of the poor image, a blurriness that makes room for imagination. Original prints, pictures found on the internet and film shots make up a very personal iconography, freed from genre imperatives.
Possible narratives, fantasized stories; the exhibition keeps the mystery going. Taken on the sly, from the back, and playing with environmental constraints, the pictures are the impressions of a benevolent voyeur. The poetry is to be found in his obsession for keeping his models’ identity secret: he is not interested in the verdict given by face features but rather by the harmony of neck’s lines. Seeing without really knowing creates the sense of great tenderness that emanates from his work. Pooya Abbasian’s approach is voluntarily out of focus. It is a search for indeterminacy. What face? But also: what identity? These questions feed negatively the visitor’s own fantasy.
The face is the window on consciousness. For Emmanuel Levinas, the ethical imperative arises through it: it is the outbreak of the Other to my subjectivity, as well as the ban of violence1. Judith Butler expanded the definition to the back, through which the face is abstractly represented2. In this way, Discreetly living behind your face hesitates between carnal figuration and soul abstraction, it is an attempt to express the unexplainable, the enigma of alterity and the construction of our gaze. A powerful cyan blue depicts the poetry of a relation both solitary and deeply informed by the Other. A story of missed encounters.

Clémentine Proby

Video from the installation of the project Discreetly Living Behind Your Face at Galerie 52, Folkwang University of the Arts.
Sound Installation by Ali Ostovar & Andrea Kofinas.

Cyanotype print, Transparent papers, 100×100 cm, 2018.
Cyanotype print on 5mm cardboard, 120×80 cm, 2018.

Cyanotype print on backside of drawing cardboard, 78,5×60 cm, 2018.Detail of print.
Exhibition view at Galerie 52, Folkwang-Uni, Essen, Germany.
Sanchi, Cyanotype print, 100×20 cm, 2018. Cyanotype print, 45×20 cm, 2018. 
Cyanotype print, 60×20,5 cm, 2018.Cyanotype print, 60×20,5 cm, 2018.
Cyanotype print, 60×20,5 cm, 2018.

Cyanotype print on 5mm cardboard, 120×80 cm, 2018.Cyanotype print, 28×50 cm, 2018

Cyanotype print, 36×50 cm, 2018

Exhibition view at Galerie des petits carreaux, Saint-Briac, France.

3 secondes of mirror x 12 hours of light, Cyanotype print on 5mm cardboard, 120×80 cm, 2018.3 secondes of mirror x 12 hours of light, Cyanotype print on 5mm cardboard, 120×80 cm, 2018.Exhibition view at Galerie des petits carreaux, Saint-Briac, France. Exhibition view at Galerie des petits carreaux, Saint-Briac, France. Exhibition view at Galerie des petits carreaux, Saint-Briac, France. Exhibition view at Galerie des petits carreaux, Saint-Briac, France.Exhibition view at Galerie 52, Folkwang-Uni, Essen, Germany.