Don't Look Where I'm Pointing - 2017.
Performing for the camera, Azab photographs himself within constructed studio environments, presenting as an uncanny self portrait the artist focuses on and raises critical conversation around the subject of self and practice within the process of photography.
‘Don’t look where I’m pointing’ takes a philosophical and phenomenological viewpoint, focusing on interior and exterior experiences of consciousness within process which investigates a dialectic language and relationship between practitioner and practice. The artist further explores the concept of space within a visceral context both in photographs and the subconscious, relating to historical and contemporary practitioners and writers, particularly influenced by fictional writing of Herman Hesse in ‘Siddhartha’ (1922).
The work also highlights a misconception and failure within the medium discussing an alternative way of ‘seeing’ by not observing or looking as seen in this photograph the artist has concealed his face with a dark-cloth, typically used with large format cameras, referring to early and traditional forms of photographic practice. In this image Azab is photographed at the moment of a clutched cable release capturing an unpredicted situation between the camera and ‘the real world’. Significantly, within this action the artist uses the camera to further explore the medium beyond the confines of the physical but simultaneously highlighting a visceral understanding of photographs.
This unique 140 x 160 black and white silver gelatin print, printed and framed by the artist sets a bold presence within the gallery space, transporting the artist in-front of the photograph itself leading the viewer into an alternative psychological space, transcending the visceral process of ‘looking’ and photographic realism. In this we are presented with two coexisting forms of seeing as Azab appears to be looking at the camera but is actually facing away from the viewer forming a dialect between the observer and the observed.
Out Of Touch - 2019.
Azab’s photographs of objects and gestures present themselves as romantic performances. They highlight the complex and unusual relationships between visual language and the medium of photography.
Throughout his body of work, Azab simultaneously creates documentary and constructed photographs, making the veracity of the images unclear to the observer. Occasionally we see the appearance of a body part in these photographs, such as a foot or a hand. Perhaps they belong to the artist himself, performing and engaging with the surface of the image and object.
Failure is a common theme within Azab’s practice. He questions the authenticity of photographs alongside the process of haptic memory within consciousness. Whether observed through the lens of the camera or the eye of the observer, he narrates how photography can act as a form of ‘sensing’ as well as a form of ‘seeing’. The artists images reveal an uncanny perspective. At first the photographs appear as simply composed still lives, but upon closer inspection his use of photographs as backdrops within the images are revealed and an illusion is presented to the viewer, referencing our capacity to desire and believe. This uncertain placement of time within a space raises a critical conversation around the performance, language and physicality within the medium of photography.
Intro:spective - 2019.
Revolv Collective presents Intro:spective – an exhibition and a series of events investigating notions of the self within photographic practices, taking place between 5th and 7th of April at Seen Fifteen Gallery in Peckham, London.
Exhibiting artists include Krasimira Butseva, Lina Ivanova, Ibrahim Azab, Lucas Gabellini-Fava, Tom Lovelace, Josh Moseley, Elena Helfrecht, Victoria Louise Doyle, Katy Hundertmark and Niamh Treacy.
Intro:spective forms a dialogue between the self and photographic practices; employing darkroom and experimental techniques, smartphone and medical examination imagery, sculpture, installation, performance and sound to uncover fabricated and existing landscapes, the seen and unseen.
‘The Imagined Space: In-between.’
‘Intro:spective highlights processes that entangle the real and the imagined, through the discovery of the self and the use of multidisciplinary practices. The works on show are an eclectic display of the versatile nature of photography as an exploration of consciousness - illustrated through sculpture, installation, sound and darkroom processes. This idea of consciousness is explored through illusionary spaces, emphasising the importance of photography’s departure from a print-based medium and into a multifaceted practice.
Time is a particularly prevalent theme which features throughout, whether it be through emphasising the importance of a memory or by trying to conserve one. Consciousness and the notion of the self engage symbiotically and we must question whether or not it can be considered through a lens. The process of introspection relies on observing and examining a state, be it static or in motion, in the same manner as photography functions - preserving a moment in a still frame or forming a point of reflection.
These works experiment with the idea of the self through various adaptations of engaging
with the public. Some works comment on the dialect separating the artist from the viewer by existing in a vacuous space and it is important to acknowledge that this is where a lot of ideas and opinions form. This becomes paramount to many of the pieces seen throughout Intro:spective and to the dialogue between the artist and the viewer. This space is a physical presence that lives between the parallels of the two, intertwining them both. This space is about realisation and perception. This space is about the in-between’
- Christina Donoghue, 2019.
In pictures: visual inspiration from the W* photography desk.
Opened at London gallery Seen Fifteen, ‘Intro:spective’ (5-7 April) explores notions of the self through diverse techniques, from medical imaging, to smartphones, sculpture, installation and performance. The Revolve Collective worked closely with gallery director Vivienne Gamble to shed light on fabricated and established notions of the self. The exhibition includes works by Krasimira Butseva, Lina Ivanova, Ibrahim Azab, Lucas Gabellini-Fava, Tom Lovelace, Josh Moseley, Elena Helfrecht, Victoria Louise Doyle, Katy Hundertmark and Niamh Treacy.
- Sophie Gladstone, 2019.