Born in Tehran, Iran, artist Reza Nadji grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany. Currently based in Berlin and Los Angeles, Nadji graduated with honours from the University for Applied Sciences and Arts in Dortmund, and received a scholarship award from Parsons School of Design in New York. Most notably, he won the Gute Aussichten photography award, Germany’s highest honour for graduating students in the field of fine art photography.
His work has been exhibited internationally in galleries and museums such as the MAKK Museum for Applied Art in Cologne, and the Deichtorhallen Museum for Photography in Hamburg. In conjunction with his work as an artist, Nadji founded and operated the IFB (Institut für Fotografische Bildung) photography school in Berlin, and has been a visiting lecturer at the Utah State University and the University of Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
In this current body of work, Nadji explores the connections between visual perception and emotion in regard to the ebb and flow of the human states of chaos and order - their relativity, their balance, and their intersection.
In the work, Ultimatum, Nadji combines 3 analogies that correlate in the struggle of being. The first reference is to the state between the heavens and the earth, relating to genesis, from a psychological (as opposed to religious) standpoint.
The second idea stems from human nature’s continuous process of creating balance between chaos and order, and nature and culture.
The third, which references theories in sociology, mathematics and physics, hints towards the concept of relativity, where the prerequisite for anything to “be” is the existence of its opposite, and that a state of perfect balance must accordingly exist on an overarching level.
Since its inception, photography has been described as being able to visually freeze a passage of time at a given moment. Even the shortest exposure is always a period of time, though is generally interpreted as punctual. Time is perceived as linear, a collection of moments captured in the order of occurrence. They create a sense of past and future, yet they are really only a product of our assumptions.
In Multiples, the levels are created in a certain time sequence, but can not be reassigned in a specific order once the work is completed. These photographs attempt to disrupt the idea of time based only on images of memory in linear sequence. In this series, the well-known reality (usually shown photographically with a single exposure) is divided and multi-layered. Since none of the individual exposures is more clear than the other, there is no layer that can be understood as a norm, or as a starting point that would garner more importance than another.
The images of the landscapes are to be dissolved in form and colour, as we may recognize from non-objective painting and the beginnings of expressionism and futurism. Nevertheless, they should not lose the content that connects them with our natural perception and the known environment. Lines and geometrical arrangements, as well as the pure image composition is emphasized, but the importance of the details is meant to disappear, so that our natural perception of what should be is disrupted.
In this third series, Oceanscapes, Nadji creates geometric , abstract landscapes as the horizon intersects to form 4triangles. Referencing similar themes of balance and contrast, the two exposures overlap to form a graphic simplicity that is clean and calming, emphasizing a natural order. Although this cleanness may give a contemporary feel, the images were not superimposed through digital manipulation or Photoshop, but though the classic method of double exposure.