Auto Italia presents Sin City, the first UK solo exhibition by Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi. This newly commissioned body of site-specific sculptures, drawings and collages continues Ghaznawi’s investigations into the classist and racialised structures of hegemonic Western aesthetics, and seeks to challenge dominant codes of institutional display and accepted ideas of craft and taste.
Sin City presents a series of small and large-scale assemblages that have been produced using collections of metallic foils, disposable plastics, polycotton fabrics and artificial flowers. These inexpensive goods and materials, commonly categorised as low-brow or tacky, are woven through robust, metal structures that resemble standardised forms of exhibition architecture and institutional design. By bringing these disparate materials together, Ghaznawi seeks to respond to complex geopolitical hierarchies embedded in material cultures, question established concepts of value and authenticity, and discuss the power dynamics inherent within taste-making.
Artificial roses recur frequently, significant as an emblem with emotional, political and romantic associations deeply embedded in Western politics and culture, as well as their derivative role as discardable tokens of sentiment. By contrasting the complex and contradictory cultural associations of these materials, the works highlight how value is disproportionately ascribed in global systems of production and consumption, both material and cultural.
Sin City draws on the negative associations regularly attached to throwaway materials, in order to challenge the parameters of craft within institutional spaces of display. By highlighting and bringing together heavily codified materials, the works explore institutional constructions of power in gallery and museum practice, and ask how forms of aesthetic value and legitimacy are produced and managed.
Sin City is commissioned and produced by Auto Italia, with support from Pro Helvetia and Swiss Culture Fund UK.
Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi (b. 1995, Ghazni, Afghanistan) lives and works in Zürich and Obwalden, Switzerland. Recent solo and duo exhibitions include Hot Wheels Athens, Greece (2022), Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zürich (2021); Cordova, Barcelona, Spain (2021); Swiss Institute, New York, US (2020); and Cabaret Voltaire, Zürich, Switzerland (2020). Selected group exhibitions include Fri Art Kunsthalle, Fribourg, Germany (2020); Kunsthalle Zürich, Switzerland (2020); Museum in Bellpark Kriens, Switzerland (2019); and Édouard Montassut, Paris, France (2019).