Solmaz Shahbazi refuses to give in to the age-old instinct to reveal, to demystify, to expound—subtly raising questions as to the entire documentary project as we know it.
Istanbul’s ubiquitous gated communities serve as a point of departure in Perfectly Suited For You, a clinical look at the strenuously engineered domestic worlds that are increasingly the rule in cities throughout the world. At once a documentary project, a spatial one, as well as an intensely psychological one, Shahbazi’s camera guides us along, revealing the particularities of a time and space, but more importantly, providing a space to think about the ways in which many of us conceive of slippery notions of home and community, inside and out.
Turning her camera to her hometown in Persepolis, the third video in a trilogy of works on Tehran, the artist sensitively captures hidden moments, suppressed secrets and memories of times long gone. Set in a mammoth bourgeois housing complex on the outskirts of this city, hers is as much a tale about Tehran as it is about how individuals situate themselves in relation to the grander narratives of history. The world as we know it, says Shahbazi, is found in the most miniscule details, the circuitous stories that trail into anti-climaxes, random arcana—and in that way, it exists first, and perhaps only, within the bounds of our own heads.
Negar Azimi, senior editor of Bidoun Magazine.