Regarding digital video as a kind of prosthesis or extension of the physical body, Shahryar Nashat moves between forms, often making reference to classical sculpture, art history, and popular culture as the basis of his source material. He is intent on staging a multisensory encounter with both images and objects, and there is something decidedly fetishistic in his approach, which implicates the act of viewing and delineates the encounter between viewers and objects in the shared space of exhibitions. Subjects that approximate the relationships between the physical body and its translation into film, video, sculpture, and photography include fissures, tears, splits, and ruptures. Brought together, these visual clues reflect on the limits of the body and the limits of representation in equal measure.
In Hard Up for Support (2016), Nashat pairs a carved and polished pink marble polygon with a new video that both suggests and denies bodily presence. Whether it is through the digital playback of high-resolution video or the faux-marble pattern on accompanying benches that are part of the overall scenography of the installation, the works share a preoccupation with surface, skin, and the layers that signify the interior and exterior of the body. As part of an ongoing study in the confrontation between static objects, mute images, and the viewers that behold them, Nashat’s works are “hard up” for attention, eliciting desire through the innate classicism of marble alongside today’s high-definition relationships of images.