Mitra Tabrizian: The Perfect Crime
Reminiscent of stills from crime movies, ‘The Perfect Crime’ focuses on the moment before or after the crime, yet leaving the event outside the frame. What the photographs portray then are people’s reactions - whether they are victim/victimiser/witness. But, unlike those film stills where we see expressions of surprise, shock or horror, the characters in these narratives, for most part, indicate ‘indifference’; a deadpan expression similar to the characters in the movies of Japanese director, Takeshi Kitano.
In a society over - saturated with violence, where we have become immune to it, the title ‘The Perfect Crime’ is used as an irony to refer not to the crime as such, but to our reaction to it. Or, rather, the crime becomes ‘perfect’ when no one cares. So violence goes on, ‘unnoticed’
Takeshi pushes the notion of violence beyond its limits; the main character (often played by himself) ultimately doesn’t care if he kills or is killed: he loses the ‘plot’ – a deliberate strategy to show violence as absurd. The work presented here deviates from this concept when it comes to victimisation. Those subjected to violence cannot remain indifferent. However, in those images in which the characters may express anxiety or fear, the text upsets the usual reading of the victim and victimiser. Rather, framed within wider concepts of racial or sexual violence, the work poses the question of the unconscious ‘threat’ i.e. who or what is the real threat in these unsettling stories!
The text could be interpreted as both the title of a fictional film and as a clue, ‘hidden’ in the image. In either case it hints at a more unusual interpretation of the implied narrative.
All the characters are in suits. At a metaphorical level, the work can also be read as a reference to ‘corporate violence’. ‘The Adjusters’, for instance, are prepared to ‘close the deal’ at any costs, a commentary on the present ‘ethos’: business has to succeed regardless of the circumstances - & any one is dispensable. Or ‘Dead Morning’ which suggests the opposite of the active life of the corporate world. Set against a series of abandoned houses, a group of business men are staring at a spot on the ground, outside the image. No emotion is expressed. What are they looking at? A dead body – or dead competitor/s?!
All the settings are of ‘unwanted spaces’ where no one wants to be; a waste land, an old toilet, a run down office, isolated street, etc. So, unlike the corporate life of apparent luxury, comfort and desirability, the city here signifies, discomfort, undesirability, indicating the dark side of the corporate dream.
text by Mitra Tabrizian
Born in Tehran, Iran
Lives and works in London
Mitra Tabrizian has exhibited and published widely and in major international museums and galleries, including her solo exhibition at the Tate Britain in 2008. Her most recent books Another Country, withtexts by Homi Bhabha, David Green, and Hamid Naficy, is publishedby Hatje Cantz in 2012.
Her photographic and film works are represented in major public collections, including, Victoria and Albert Museum, London | Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art | Moderna Mussset, Stockholm | Museum Folkwang, Essen | Musée d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg amongst others.