Still Life

Still Life is an exhibition of new photographic and video work by Vancouver-based artist Matilda Aslizadeh. In her series of photographs titled vanitas, the artist uses techniques of digital compositing to construct multi-layered images of decaying nature juxtaposed against mass-produced, artificial versions of the same. In the history of Western still-life painting, arrangements of inanimate objects have been traditionally used to both celebrate material prosperity and serve as a moral warning against placing too much importance on material things. More generally speaking, still-life compositions function as a metaphor for human affairs, embodying the particular concerns of the time of their production. Aslizadeh’s work evokes this history, and references its popular motifs, in order to meditate on habits of consumption and their connection to contemporary attitudes about mortality.

The video component of the exhibition is an installation, also titled Still Life, that depicts an abundant collection of fruit and flowers in perpetual transformation—some objects decay, while others appear to grow younger or maintain their youth forever. The piece loops backwards and forwards seamlessly, creating a moving photograph in which death is always imagined but never truly arrives.