Untitled (Open Channel)

Photo: of an art installation called Untitled (Open Channel)
Vancouver City Centre

Untitled (Open Channel)

By Nabil Azab

How can we uncouple photography from its constrictive relationship to time and truth? Nabil Azab’s large-scale, colourful, and abstract images resist the objectivity and indexicality associated with the medium, making space for individual contemplation and interpretation. The images are of existing photographs – some archival, some personal or of family – that Azab rephotographs and repurposes, obscuring their original objectivity. He creates these images by moving the camera during the shooting process, which purposefully results in blurring, visually embedding the passing of time in the work itself to challenge the notion that photographs accurately reflect a single moment.

The result of this process are dreamy and glowing cloud-like images that wash over the viewer and read more like abstract paintings than photographs. The beauty of these images mask their subversive nature: the works demand that the viewer linger, take personal responsibility in making meaning, and finally accept ambiguity, as the works refuse definitive explanation.

Currently living and working in Montreal, Azab is of North African descent and was born in Paris and raised in British Columbia.

Curatorial credit: Capture Photography Festival

Exhibition dates: April 1st – August 31st 2024

Image caption: Nabil Azab, Untitled (Open Channel) (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the Artist and Franz Kaka.

This artwork is presented in partnership with Capture Photography Festival and the Canada Line Public Art Program – InTransit BC