Sanaz Mazinani :
Bright Dark


DATES: May 11 - August 11, 2019

RECEPTION: Friday, May 17, 2019

Visiting Info

Dark Bright emerges from researching the archaeology of the present through a consideration of how fields of vision are produced within individuals and nations across history.

Artist Sanaz Mazinani was inspired to create an installation where bistable images, reflective surfaces, and geometric patterns form optical illusions offering a space for reflection on the complex relationship between optics in the brain and the development of a critical perspective within the mind. One understands what they see because of conditions and forces that emerge from specific moments in history that come together to shape an individuals’ entanglement within particular narratives.

Mazinani constructs opportunities to study various conditions and forces of the present, inviting the viewer to consider how small shifts in perception can radically transform how we see. She is interested in examining the duality of polarization. How do antipodes effect each other? And, what insight is gained if one can experience multiple realities at once? In looking at this inter-relationality, the artist questions the failure of the middle ground and asks the viewer if opposite forces may ever realign to face the same side.

The use of mirror locates the viewer as a subject within the work, complicating the role of the observer and implicating them in the project of considering multiple positionalities.

Black and white bi-stable images bind opposing perspectives within the same frame. Directly citing Danish phsychologist Edgar Rubin’s figure-ground study one’s focus shifts between abstract vases to silhouetted human figures. Thinking about politics today, the inability to see both image elements simultaneously despite the fact that they formally determine one another, reflects the same dangerous political reality that produces “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that create conditions to separate families and label certain bodies illegal.

The political figuration of human bodies, alone and together, are further magnified in large reproductions of mass protests. Figure-ground relationships proliferate amongst the collective forms, demonstrating the co-presence of a multitude of overlapping perspectives that, although distinct, have the potential to unite and align as agents of change.

Amidst the greyscale palette utilized in Dark Bright, the artist has intertwined vibrant blues and yellows in a gesture to subtly situate the exhibition within the elapsing gravitational orbits of the sun and moon, suggesting another time scale of inter- relating (celestial) bodies. Though our human bodies subsist by and among these celestial bodies, their ability to consciously align themselves between absolutes, between political and ethical opposites, gives them the agency and responsibility to shift and effect change.