Mirrored Explosions | Sanaz Mazinani

Mirror reflections have multifarious interpretations: some view the image as objective truth, while others identify its inherent reversal as proof of the mirror’s deception or illusion. Mirrors confine and frame the visible, although they may also exaggerate it infinitely — for example, when two mirrors face each other.

Pantea Haghighi, 2016

Sanaz Mazinani is an artist, curator, and educator who is based in San Francisco and Toronto. She has an undergraduate degree from Ontario College of Art & Design University, and a Masters in Fine Arts from Stanford University and has exhibited in Toronto, Zurich, San Francisco and Dubai.

In this body of work she addresses perceptions of war. Her intricate collages are more like scuptures hanging on a wall than photographs – not one rectangular or square frame to be see! Indeed upon entering the Museum the very first image one sees is an image which resembles the shape of the underbelly of a stealth bomber airplane.

Image in Mirrored Explosions exhibition by Sanaz Mazinani
Image in Mirrored Explosions exhibition by Sanaz Mazinani

Mazinani uses found images of war and political unrest sourced from the internet to make her collages. By duplicating and mirroring the components of her collages in a kaleidoscopic format, she creates intricate patterns drawn from her Persian heritage. The attention to detail is very evident.

Dark Explosion, 2011 by Sanaz Mazinani
Dark Explosion, 2011 by Sanaz Mazinani

She juxtaposes images of war in the Middle East with images of political protest; images of George W Bush and Bill Clinton; fighter jets with terrorists thereby jarring us our of our comfort zones and forcing us to look closely. The collages are small so one really has to zoom in and look at the structures very closely in order to make out the details and it is this realisation when the penny drops of what the collage actually consists of that stops the viewer in his/her tracks.

Redacted March, 2011 by Sanaz Mazinani
Redacted March, 2011 by Sanaz Mazinani

Mazinani ruptures our modes of observation, forcibly asking: How does an image’s mediation affect moral or political judgments? To what extent are these images real to us? How can the implications of war be more visibly, and tangibly, understood through representation?

Pantea Haghighi, 2016

Fireworks and Howitzer, 2014 by Sanaz Mazinani
Fireworks and Howitzer, 2014 by Sanaz Mazinani

Sanaz Mazinani states in a prior artist’s statement where some of these images were exhibited as part of the Frames of the Visible project:

I use the semiotics of pattern to re-mediate images drawn from the mediascape, and intervene into the very perspectival frames of vision. Creating a space to reflect on popular media’s representation of warfare and deliver a message on the complex and woven relationships that demonstrate the nature of modern existence in a globalized world.

Sanaz Mazinani

Some of the detail of her collages can be seen on her website. I was in awe of this work. It is so creative and painstakingly performed and at the same time so deceptive. And that brings us back to the age old question of what is truth in photography?

I came across an interesting video clip of Sanaz Mazinani explaining some of her work and I include it below for some extra insight into her work.

Reference List

Haghighi, Pantea (2016). Mirrored Explosions | Sanaz Mazinani. West Vancouver: West Vancouver Museum

Art + Activism with Sanaz Mazinani | KQED Arts (2015) KQED Art [School online] Creat. by Wanak, J; Farr, K; Williams, M; Brown, J.  30 June 2015. 5 mins 23 secs. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTp_nLgcPyU [Accessed 19 April, 2016]


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