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Maryam Jafri

Generic Corner

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Involving video, photography, text, sculpture, and installation, Maryam Jafri’s (b. 1972) practice sits at the crossroads of cultural anthropology and conceptual art. Her work has its foundations in hard-nosed research and often includes an impressive array of documentary material that is rife with economic, political, and social implications. Her treatment and contextualization of that found matter connects to a conceptual photographic tradition that runs from Ed Ruscha to Christopher Williams as well as to cinema and theater—much more than it does to so-called “research-based” art. Her mordant works are driven by interrogations of global capitalism and power as well as theatrical staging, embodiment, and ritual. For her Kunsthalle Basel exhibition Generic Corner, Jafri’s first solo show in Switzerland and her largest exhibition to date, the Pakistan-born American artist presents a new series of photographic and object-based works as well as several other recent and older works, including two video pieces. Some are focused on household products and their relationship to questions of market demand and speculation. Others look at sites where S/M role-play activities are conducted, reveal the undersides of the production of erotic paraphernalia, or contemplate the privatization of copyright in the digital age.