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?