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Indepth Arts News:

"Nzingah Muhammad: Objects of Investigation"
2004-04-30 until 2004-05-29
Esso Gallery
New York, NY, USA United States of America

Jennifer and Filippo Fossati are pleased to announce the opening of the solo exhibition by New York artist Nzingah Muhammad. For her second solo exhibition with Esso Gallery, Nzingah Muhammad presents a new series of photographic diptychs each composed of a portrait of an individual and a set of prayer beads attached by a string to an evidence tag. For this project the photographer randomly stopped people on the streets of Syracuse, New York to evaluate a string of prayer beads and write on a tag an invented note about them. She then invited members of a local mosque to be photographed holding prayer beads.

. The resulting series of works is entitled "Objects of Investigation", in which the artist investigates contemporary reality (the Muslim community in the US), which is perhaps just a matter of culture. Reality is falsified and here the photographer is exploring its ambiguities.

Nzingah Muhammad takes into account the tradition of both art and photography and quietly subverts them both. Even if her images are exactly truthful representations of what they record, the strangeness they represent is all carefully setup before the shot is taken and we are faced with what appears to be a direct transcription of the impossible. The relationship of the fictional world to reality is reflected in Muhammad’s constant preoccupation with the relationship of photography to painting and of either to experience reality.

If photographs are used, two or more, taken of the same subject are "naturally" sequential. If presented in that way, they give to the "sign" which they produce, "literature" and that, in turn, is easily appropriated by myth. Within each work a "statement" functions to describe the continuum within which a balance of "constants" and "variables" give to its percipient the information that joins with whatever is represented as "visual": the image, which is the "work" is produced by the percipient as an event in his or her time.

Illustrating subject matter to the viewer is not her primary concern. Nzingah’s photographs are indeed more closely related to fables than to inventories, as much about what is implied as what is delineated.

Nzingah Muhammad born 1976 in New York. Recent exhibitions include the San Francisco Art Institute, CA; Silvermine Guild Art Gallery, New Canaan, NY; African American Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Blue Sky Gallery, Portland Oregon; Studio Ercolani, Bologna, (catalogue); Villa Buttino, Castiglione Torinese; Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea in Turin; Palazzo Villa Croce, Genova (catalogue). In the year 2003 she was awarded the Pino Pascali Prize with an exhibition at Palazzo Pino Pascali, Bari, Italy as well as a residency grant at Light Works, Syracuse, NY.


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