Galerie Edwynn Houk is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent works by Sissi Farassat (Iranian, b. 1969). The exhibition opens on Thursday, 28 August and continues through Saturday, 25 October 2014. There will be a reception and book signing with the artist from 6-8pm on Thursday, 28 August. This exhibition marks Sissi Farassat’s first one-person exhibition in Switzerland.

Encountering Sissi Farassat’s work, one quickly realizes the incredible amount of time she has spent transforming her photographs with needle and thread, and slowly, deliberately, turning each into a unique object. Upending what seems to be most specific about the photographic medium—the instantaneousness of the picture-taking process, its completion by the photographic print, and the endless reproducibility of that print—Farassat alters her original photographs by stitching thousands of crystals, beads, and sequins directly onto the prints. She redefines figure-ground relationships, privileging the subject as it is seemingly surrounded by a shimmering sea of gemstones with the circle as a reoccurring motif, all of which reference Byzantine and Persian iconography as much as Vienna Secession and Pop Art.

Farassat began by altering her own expired passports, embellishing them with sequins and beadwork, again repurposing the passport from its original use to a unique artwork. Since then, Farassat has used either self-portraits or casual snapshots of her friends and close acquaintances. The images are neither staged nor formally posed, but always seductive and mysterious.

Farassat isolates each photograph’s subject with her handiwork, replacing the original background with a delicate overlay. By doing so, she blurs the distinction between the photograph and the object, the revealed and the concealed, and eliminates the subject from its original context. Farassat challenges our gaze and seems to take pleasure in the ambivalence of her transformations.

Sissi Farassat has been a working photographer since 1991 and attended the International Summer Academy conducted by Nan Goldin in 1993. She was a student of Friedl Kubelka at the School of Fine Arts Photography in Vienna (1993-94). Afterwards, she received a stipend for Paris from the Austrian Department for Education, Science and Art to realize her series Self Portrait Paris. Her work has been widely exhibited in Museums internationally, amongst others at Museum of Vienna, Austria; Landesgalerie Linz, Austria; National Gallery of Art Poland; the Fototriennale in Vienna; Fotogalerie Vienna; Hara Museum Tokyo; FLAG Foundation, New York; Museum of Photography Thessalonki; station 21, Zurich; Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts, New Jersey; CAN Foundation, Seoul, Korea; Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Tampa; and the Rugby Art Gallery and Museum, UK. Farassat’s work is included in a number of important private and institutional collections, such as the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, MAK - Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna, Museum Moderner Kunst Kärnten, Collection Essl in Vienna, Collection of the City of Linz and Collection of the City of Vienna. She lives and works in Vienna, Austria.