Babak Ghazi

Babak Ghazi's contribution to Nought to Sixty

Babak Ghazi (born London, 1977, lives in London) is the mastermind of an irregularly published magazine called Not Yet - a title that hints at what his overall practice proposes: the idea of things existing in a temporal narrative that is available to him to re-order and re-present. Ghazi's practice draws on notions of appropriation and history; he dips back and reframes past works of art and cultural imagery, presenting them as new, unfamiliar and changed - or simply suddenly remembered - in the present.

For a work shown in 2007 at the Chelsea Space of the Chelsea College of Art & Design (where Ghazi teaches), the artist bought a 1975 issue of Data Arte magazine that had been missing from the school's library, put it on display and donated it to the institution after the exhibition was finished, literally recuperating the contents of the publication. The 1970s and 80s are key to his practice: for other works he has mined photo spreads, album covers and 'designer' objects from these periods, including Perspex cubes and glam-dripping sunglass advertisements.

Ghazi's work owes a great deal to Pop Art and the latter's inclusion of popular material as both affirmation and critique; like that movement's best-known star, Andy Warhol, he also pushes such material close to abstraction. A series of altered images of David Bowie, entitled ShapeShifter (2004), depicts the singer with his face swollen and stretched as if in a funhouse mirror. Another series, Untitled (2004), overlays a magazine photo of sunglasses with kaleidoscope-like fragments of broken CDs. Finally, in the works on show at the ICA, Model (2008), Ghazi pays homage to Warhol's exceptional series of paintings, Shadows (1978).

Warhol's paintings are made from silk-screened images of shadows, used in both negative and positive form, and perhaps surprisingly summon up the Abstract Expressionist style that he had earlier helped to displace. Ghazi's work, in turn, employs an image of a model wearing a Katherine Hamnett slogan T-shirt from a 1984 issue of Vogue - a pout-y image very much of its time - and reproduces it in a number of negative and solarised versions, hung around the room in a manner which mimics the serial installation of the Warhol original.

Ghazi's Model evokes Pop, abstraction and the will towards trauma within Warholian repetition - as well as both 1978 and 1984, and the present moment of encounter with the 'digitised' image. In creating a new inventory made by accumulation and repetition, it frames the strident projection of identity contained within the dated magazine image. And in the gap between Warhol and himself Ghazi invokes the shifting territory of selfhood, and the borderline areas of public imagery that are at once superficial and politicised.

Melissa Gronlund