Farrah Karapetian

IMG_4469Farrah Karapetian (1978 US) is an artist currently based in California. She makes photography physical; although she works cameralessly, she believes even digital photography has a physical presence, and physical space is political space.

Her methods incorporate sculptural and performative means of achieving imagery that refigures the medium of photography around bodily experience. Her work “marries two traditions in photography — that of the staged picture and of the image made without a camera” (LA Times 2015.) Her photograms and the sculptural negatives she makes en route to their exposure move in and out of abstraction and figuration and “disrupt and call attention to our era’s deeply entrenched response of permitting the constant newsfeed of documentary to slide by us as political ephemera” (Georgia Review 2015.) 

She has had multiple solo exhibitions and is represented by Von Lintel Gallery (Los Angeles, CA) and Danziger Gallery (New York, NY.) Her work is collected by SFMOMA and LACMA and has been shown at institutions including the George Eastman Museum and the Orange County Museum of Art. Karapetian was on residence in May 2016 in St. Petersburg, Russia, with a grant from CEC ArtsLink. In 2014, she was recognized with a California Community Foundation Mid-Career Artist Fellowship. She received a grant for Artistic Innovation from the Center for Cultural Innovation in 2012 and was a resident at the MacDowell Colony in 2010. Her writing about visual experience has been recognized not only by multiple publications but by the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program, with a grant in 2013 for her writing about the house in and as contemporary art. Her voice has been a part of panel discussions and critiques at institutions including LACMA, Princeton University, UCLA, LAXART, and the Orange County Museum of Art.

2009_Stowaway
Installation Shot: Stowaway, 2009 Unique silver gelatin photogram from constructed negatives and performance six panels, 118 x 40 inches each, for a total of 10 x 20 feet. This photogram mimics the Z-Backscatter x-ray technology currently used to identify illegal immigrants inside trucks at U.S. border crossings and shows at life-size the interior of a moving van replete with V-8 engine, Mexican Coke bottles, and a man.
2012_4thWall
Installation Shot: Fourth Wall, 2012 Unique chromogenic photograms from constructed negatives 10 x 13.3 x 8 feet. The NYTimes ran a picture in 2011 of a house devastated by a tornado in North Carolina: its roof blown off and its fourth wall blown down towards the photographer, exposing the interior of a child’s bedroom, full of debris. Karapetian recognized in this picture the opportunity to describe two kinds of space through photography: illusionistic space – the room’s interior – and real space – the fourth wall.
2015b_CallherCraft
Unique chromogenic photogram 40 x 155 inches. To make this print, Karapetian used ice, water, multiple light sources, and a life-size digital black and white negative of a life raft that was destroyed in the process.