The subject of this book is a deceased prop, an object of a particular color, the green of cinematic trickery and special effects. It edged itself into Shahryar Nashat’s work in 2011, first appearing in Factor Green, an installation the artist produced for the Venice Biennale. Taking its final form a year later, the prop became properly known as La Shape and garnered critical acclaim for its sardonic personification of an unscrupulous impresario in Parade and star turn in Nashat’s video Hustle in Hand (both 2014). Earlier this year, its mysterious death at the height of its career became the occasion for Nashat and Los Angeles writer Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer to reflect upon the brief but meaningful life of a most singular figure.
Accompanied by archival images and a series of portraits that Nashat made during La Shape’s most prolific years, Obituary is a gripping read into a most mysterious icon and a timely consideration of the roles played, and agency expressed, by such a highly mediated art object.