Manuel Graf and Shaan Syed at Herrmann Germann Contemporary

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Artists: Manuel Graf and Shaan Syed

Venue: Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zurich, Switzerland

Date: August 25 – October 7, 2016

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zurich

Manuel Graf works with juxtapositions of different, indeed incompatible, models and materials. In putting theory and practice to the test, both material and model frequently disintegrate. Engaging with topics that are founded in the political here and now he examines social questions using widely varied media, from ceramics to 3D animation.

Shaan Syed’s work deals with his own ancestry, language and personal history and how these factors influence painting. For Syed, “all paintings say ‘here is a painting’ and ‘you are here’ and so, all paintings are signs; signs for everything that stands behind them and signs for everything they point towards.” In his pictures, he uses a formal language to engage with the histories of abstraction through the lense of his personal experience. For Syed, painting is imperfect, volatile and unpredictable, and asks a question of how established systems of looking relate to how we see anew and how do they influence the way in which we look at and make images now?

Both artists are deeply engaged in questions of origins, culture, the past and future. The bluescreen setting supplied locates their works within a neutral environment. The blue surroundings offer the viewer a space in which to project. Where are we? In the past? In the future? Or in an space emptied for our own interpretations?

Manuel Graf born 1978 in Bühl DE, lives and works in Düsseldorf DE. He graduated at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf from the class of Magdalena Jetelová & Rita McBride. He won numerous awards like the Nam June Paik Award 2014, Audi Art Award 2010 and Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris 2009. Recently Graf curated together with Hans-Jürgen Hafner the transhistoric exhibition The Art of the Turks at the Kunstverein Düsseldorf, which was widely reviewed.

Shaan Syed born 1975 in Toronto CAN, lives and works in London UK. He studied Fine Arts at Concordia University, Montreal CAN and holds a Diploma from the Ontario College of Art and Design, Toronto, CAN as well as a MFA from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

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Manuel Graf, What’s the Opposite of Comic Relief?, 2016
Plasticine, LED-screen, video, wood, 185 x 80 x 50 cmvideo loop: 4 min

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Manuel Graf, Gallery Gods, 2016
Plasticine, adhesive vinyl, dimension variable

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Manuel Graf, Girl with a Battleship, 2016
Wood, ceramics (raku), adhesive vinyl, dimension variable

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.12, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.11, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.18, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.23, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.10, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.13, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.15, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.21, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.21, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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Shaan Syed, From the Series: A Phonetic Understanding of Words and Images No.20, 2016
Oil, acrylic, industrial filler on canvas, 60 x 45 cm

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