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Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi (b. 1995) is a 27-year-old visual artist based in Zurich and a graduate of BA in Art & Media at Zurich University of the Arts. Mainly working with the two-dimensional and sculptural collages, spatial interventions have become her primary medium, entailed with socio-political questions and commentary on capitalistic structures, institutions, and the tension between art and the public sphere. The artist presents the kindred grasp of the mixed medium and alternation, introducing value to low and mass-produced materials. Throughout Ghaznawi’s practice, she has created vitrines, showcases, bookshelves, and similar presentation devices, serving as memorials. She uses glass surfaces and rigid structures as a reflection platform, flirting with the quasi-democratic publicness and the power of framing and display in shaping narratives and hidden histories. Ghaznawi has been working closely with archive materials and has previously displayed Emmy Henning’s works at the Swiss Institute. The inherent melancholy of institutions, public design, and architecture in education-producing settings or public service establishments gives her the working material for aesthetical re-rendering. In looking back on the historic and hereditary matter, the artist has embraced the visual language of eastern folklore, manifested in her color palette and conscious use of flower motifs, alongside the one of pop culture, challenging the established taste in the contemporary art scene, fusing the low-high culture. The institutions' cultural and class inequalities and ideological dysfunctions are the constructs that Ghaznawi critically re-considers, both through content and visually. In her practice, she commissions experimental texts or poetic essays to friends or other artists as an abstract gesture and a reminder of all the stories and texts unwritten because of work, reproduction, and trauma.
"Ghaznawi’s deployment of mass-produced petro-textiles and cheap haberdashery is as precise as it is evocative. She makes no attempt to upcycle or otherwise smooth over her materials’ humble origins” - Rahel Aima (2021, October). Bulgur materialism: Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi Mousse Magazine, 77.
Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, 'Hymn and Silence' at LC Queisser, Tbilisi
Ghaznawi has recently started making paintings on scrap fabric, which habitually remain unstretched, unprimed, and ideally raw to contradict and dismantle the Western Aesthetical gesture of viewing a painting and conceptualizing it as a medium in a predetermined hierarchical way.
Flower Garden, 2021
The title of the painting, Flower Garden, is a literal suggestion of what’s on it. Very rushed and deliberately primitivistic-looking imagery rests on the irregular cut surface. The missing square is not cut out from the painting; rather, the picture is done on a leftover fabric, as Ghaznawi uses her gathered materials from everyday life and other works till the last bit.
Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi’s recent solo and duo exhibitions include Don't Build Picturesquely (with Marina Xenofontos), 2022, Hot Wheels Athens, in collaboration with LC Queisser, Athens; Hymn and Silence, 2021, LC Queisser, Tbilisi; LOVE/ Terms and Conditions, 2021, Galerie Maria Bernheim, Zurich; Emmy Hennings / Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, 2020, Swiss Institute New York, New York; Bookshelf 3, 2020, School, Vienna; Emmy Hennings / Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi, 2020 Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich; Underworld Classic, 2019, Luma Westbau & schwarzescafé, Zurich; Lefto ...
oberih - a collaborative publication of LC Queisser and understructures, and a fundraising project in frames of Liste Art Fair to support initiatives and collectives from Ukraine.
Year of Birth
Country of Birth
Born 1995, Lives and works in Zurich.
The assemblages of Sitara Abuzar Ghaznawi transgress forms and space, revealing a questioning of institutional structures and accepted ideas of craft and taste. In her sculptural transformations her processes insist on maintaining the visibility of the lowly beginnings of her materials, forming strong, shameless and rigorous poetries.