FARRAH KARAPETIAN (Farrah Karapetian)
"VIEWING ROOM" JUNE 1- JUNE 14, 2020
For our fourth online “Viewing Room” we are pleased to present a contrapuntal exhibition of two bodies of work by the Los Angeles based artist Farrah Karapetian.
Prior to last week we were only going to show Karapetian’s new photograms of flowers, but following the death of George Floyd, her 2018 series of inverted and upside down flags along with her overlaid teleprompter texts seem not only timely but necessary viewing.
Since 2002, Karapetian has been exploring the boundaries of the photogram with works that are both personal and political ranging from the relationship of army veterans to the spaces they invade to abstracted still lives of musicians and musical instruments. The texts in her flag pictures come from signs she has read at demonstrations: “When injustice becomes law resistance becomes duty”; “Keep your laws of my body”; and “Demilitarize the police”. Juxtaposing these texts with the form of the teleprompter and American flag, the work begs the question: what if politicians shared the people's voice?
Karapetian's 14 x 11 inch floral photograms were made last month while sheltering in place during the Covid crisis. A cross between the classical photo-based images of Anna Atkins and the dynamic action painting of Jackson Pollock, Karapetian’s flowers are unique works made from multiple layers and completed by the throwing and dripping of chemistry (developer/fixer/water) onto the color paper. Speaking to Karapetian last week she described the work as about her need for beauty and relief.
While her processes are poetic and experimental, they derive from the world around us, whether healing forms from the natural world or demands from the people. As Karapetian said, "You can't make this stuff up."