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Analia Saban at Sprüth Magers and Tanya Bonakdar
Spanning two galleries across the city, Analia Saban’s exhibition Synthetic Self explores the humanness that can be found in the crosshairs of AI, technology, and climate change. Across the show, Saban’s penchant for material exploration can be found in new bodies of work that use encaustic — particularly novel are a series of photographic works made on encaustic (a mix of pigment and wax) and graphite grounds, each one etched using a laser cutter. One work, titled Prompt Drawing: Deep Fake, presents three portraits of the artist — one photographic, one made with AI, and one a hybrid of the two — while others utilize AI software to uncanny and sometimes humorous ends (a self-portrait as a mouse, for instance). The computer fan is also a symbol used across both shows, visible in both a series of Jacquard weavings and memorialized in both venues as a series of marble sculptures. Herein lies another cheeky joke — in rendering a cheap disposable object in one of the most enduring art historical materials. Elsewhere, laser-cut wood veneer pieces portray various computer cards that represent historical breakthroughs in technology, while other pieces feel closer to home. One work on encaustic details all of Saban’s login and password information for various websites she has visited, forming an uncanny self-portrait. Through all of these technological explorations, the constant is the humanness that lies within.
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Photo: Installation view, ‘Synthetic Self’ Analia Saban, Sprüth Magers. September 15 – October 28, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers. Photo: Jeff McLane.