Shirazeh Houshiary

String Quintet

Shirazeh Houshiary  String Quintet

source: lissongallery

Since rising to prominence as a sculptor in the 1980s, Shirazeh Houshiary’s practice has swelled to encompass painting, installation, architectural projects and film. “I set out to capture my breath,” she said in 2000, to “find the essence of my own existence, transcending name, nationality, cultures.” Veils, membranes and mists are leitmotifs in work that tries to visualise modes of perception, spanning the scientific and the cosmic while drawing on sources as wide-ranging as Sufism, Renaissance painting, contemporary physics and poetry. Houshiary finds succour in the transformation of material: Arabic words, one an affirmation the other a denial, are pencil-stroked onto canvas so lightly, and clouded over by finely wrought skeins of pigment, that they morph in front of the naked eye and defy reproduction. So too, aluminium armatures and elliptical brick towers, charged with dynamic tension, appear different from every angle, as if negating their own presence; her commission for the East Window of St Martins in the Fields, London, presents a cross, warped and spanning from a circular motif, as if reflected in water. “The universe is in a process of disintegration,” she says, “everything is in a state of erosion, and yet we try to stabilise it. This tension fascinates me and it’s at the core of my work” (2013).

Shirazeh Houshiary was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1955, where she attended university before moving to London in 1974. She has a BA from Chelsea School of Art (1979) and lives and works in London. She has had solo exhibitions at Magasin-Centre national d’art contemporain, Grenoble (1995), University of Massachusetts Amherst (1994), Camden Arts Centre, London (1993), Musee Rath, Geneva (1988), and in 2013 her exhibition Breath was a celebrated Collateral Event of the 55th Venice Biennale. Major group exhibitions include the 40th Venice Biennale (1982), the Kiev Biennale (2012) and the 17th Biennale of Sydney (2010). She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
source: widewallsch

Shirazeh Houshiary is an Iranian-British installation artist and sculptor.

Houshiary was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1955. Five years before the brewing revolution’s eruption in 1979, she moved to England. After moving, she studied at London’s Chelsea School of Art (now Chelsea College of Art and Design, 1976–79) and was a Junior Fellow at Cardiff College of Art, Wales (1979–80). In the 1980s, she was linked to the so-called New British Sculptors such as Anish Kapoor, Richard Deacon and Tony Cragg, but her work was distinguished by the interpretation of a Persian cultural background through Western sculptural language.

Houshiary’s three-dimensional works implement Islamic decorative motifs and maintain a minimalist geometry. Her early work consisted of allusive environments and biomorphic sculptural forms, demonstrating an attempt, echoed in later work, to embody spiritual concepts physically. As it developed, her work became more autonomous, austere and concerned with materials that could symbolize a spiritual transcendence of materiality.

Shirazeh’s ideology draws on Sufi mystical doctrine and Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, a Persian mystic and poet from the 13th century. Drawn from those sources, sacred words are written in Arabic script, minutely repeated and deliberately rendered unintelligible and abstract to produce intricate patterns in graphite and pigment. Although Houshiary derives inspiration from the interdependence of unity and multiplicity, her work is intended to symbolize a universal quest for spiritual union. Conterminous with this is a criticism of the dualisms of Western philosophy, as well as the cults of individuality and originality that dominate Western art practice.

Since rising to prominence as a sculptor in the 1980s, Shirazeh Houshiary’s practice has swelled to encompass painting, installation, architectural projects and film. In 1992 she transitioned to making two-dimensional works on canvas as she shifted away from working with defined form in an effort to capture the intangible and formless.
For the past 20 years, she has been weaving a silvery web across all her paintings. It is made up of two words in Arabic repeated thousands of times: “I am” and “I am not.” Crushed together, so minuscule as to be indecipherable, the words embody the duality of existence in the same way as the yin and the yang.
“It’s the overlapping of the two words, being and not being, life and death,” explains Houshiary. “It’s not about meaning. The relationship between the absence and presence is unknowable and leads to infinite possibility.”

Houshiary does not practice any religion and dislikes such labels as “transcendental,” yet her work have an undeniably spiritual quality, a white glazed-brick tower emitting chants from four religions that was erected in Battery Park in Manhattan in 2004.
For her presentation as a Collateral Event of the 55. International Art Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, Shirazeh Houshiary presented Breath: a video in a re-mastered version, as part of a unique, site-specific installation. Houshiary came to Hotbox Studios in 2012 wishing to bring the film installation up to date to allow for the animation to be played on modern HD LCD screens. Mark Hatchard from Hotbox Studios worked with Houshiary in re-mastering the animation to create a true HD version of the original SD animation.
In the new version of Breath, the evocative chants of Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Islamic prayers emanate from four video screens. The sound is choreographed with images that capture the expanding and contracting breath of the vocalists. The installation takes the form of a rectangular enclosure clad in black felt, which is entered through a narrow passage that leads to a dimly lit white interior. There are four screens hung at eye level from which the chants of the different traditions rise and fall, swell and dissipate in a haunting chorus that fills the room and permeates beyond each of its walls. Where inside there is unity, outside is multiplicity.

Both of these installations were part of her project to create a spiritual embodiment of the breath, which she considers to be the fundamental essence of human existence, her move to two-dimensional work marked a further plunge into the elimination of structure. Houshiary’s consistent use of the white or black field represents a preoccupation with the infinite; while white expresses the absence of boundary, black collapses into itself as with the experience of falling infinitely. Houshiary’s use of word and text is a common denominator within her oeuvre, though their representation constantly evolves.

The commission for the East Window of St Martins in the Fields in Trafalgar Square, presents a cross, warped and spanning from a circular motif, as if reflected in water. Installed as part of the £36 million refurbishment project which took place at St Martin-in-the-Fields from 2005 to 2008, Shirazeh Houshiary and Pip Horne’s East Window is beautiful in its apparent initial simplicity, made of etched blown clear glass and similarly monochromatic peened stainless steel.
“The universe is in a process of disintegration – everything is in a state of erosion, and yet we try to stabilize it. This tension fascinates me and it’s at the core of my work”, she said.
One aspect of the brief was that the window should “successfully animate the light”, and it certainly achieves that, whilst maintaining the interest of the viewer with its other-worldly curves.

In 2014 she is featured not only with an upside down Christmas tree, based on her Tate Britain Christmas tree in 1993 in Victoria Beckham’s new showroom in Dover Street, but also with a specially commissioned 26-foot sculpture that hangs from the roof down through the central stairwell of Jimmy Choo’s Townhouse in New Bond Street. It has taken a year to complete and is a first site-specific commission within the UK fashion industry.

Entitled Chrysalis consists of an inner core and an outer skin which Denis sees as combining the elements of strength and fragility that characterize the classic Jimmy Choo shoe. Looking at it at eye level, it is transparent; the open brick style components strike Denis as emblematic of the new DNA he is bringing to his business. But when seen from the top or bottom it resembles a serpentine body that changes imperceptibly under the influence of a discreet lighting system.

Cross-sensory perception quickens and multiplies in Smell of First Snow, Shirazeh Houshiary’s eighth exhibition at Lisson Gallery in 2015. Through painting, drawing and sculptural work, Houshiary approaches the intangible and evanescent, articulating a metaphysical reality that lies beyond mere form and surface.

Accompanying the paintings are also sculptures made in the same year. Two wall-based works, Allegory of Sight and Allegory of Sound, explicitly strive after synaesthesia. Resembling dancing ribbons or darting wavelengths, these cast stainless steel sculptures are coated in dense black and evanescent white paint respectively, creating a dialectical evocation of these vital senses. Lit from above and attached to the wall, they traverse not only between two- and three-dimensionality, but also between the physical and immaterial worlds, throwing shadows whose echoing delineations form a continuation of the works.

Ever since her moving to Britain, she has returned to her home country only twice; the lack of democracy, in politics and in the home, depresses her.

“I don’t want to deny my roots. My Persian heritage is definitely there,” she says. “It’s not something I need to defend or fight for. It’s just there.” But she feels more connection with her adopted country than with her homeland.
In 1994 Houshiary was shortlisted for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery, London, together with Willie Doherty (who presented the first video work to be exhibited in the Prize), Peter Doig, and the winner Antony Gormley. In 1997 she was named professor at the London Institute (now University of the Arts).

Houshiary‘s presence in museums and public collection ranges from Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Guggenheim Museum… She has taken part in major group shows worldwide and also had numerous solo exhibitions at places such as the Lisson Gallery in London or Lehmann Maupin in New York, which both represent her.

Houshiary once said, ‘An artist is someone who is capable of unveiling the invisible, not a producer of art objects … In my work there is a continual invention of already existing forms and symbols precisely because the problem is not to be original, or indeed to establish a distinction between forms of knowledge, between East and West’.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
source: factum-arte

Shirazeh Houshiary nació en Shiraz, Iran in 1955, donde estudió en la universidad antes de moverse a Londres en 1974. Ahí consiguió un BA en el School of Art (1979). Trabaja y vive en Londres. De sus exposiciones individuales se mencionan: en el Magasin-Centre national d’art contemporain, Grenoble (1995), en la University of Massachusetts Amherst (1994), Camden Arts Centre, London (1993), Musee Rath, Geneva (1988), y en 2013 su exposición Breath fu celebrada como Collateral Event en el ámbito de la 55· Biennale de Venecia. Las colectivas incluyen la de la 40· Biennale de Venecia (1982), la Biennale de Kiev (2012) y la 17· Biennale de Sydney (2010). Ha sido nombrada por el Premio Turner en 1994.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
source: arteit

Shirazeh Houshiary nasce a Shiraz in Iran. Dalla metà degli anni Settanta, si trasferisce a Londra dove attualmente vive e lavora. Ha studiato presso la Chelsea School of Art e ha ottenuto la Cattedra presso il London Institute. Nel 1994 è stata nominata per il Turner Prize. Le sue opere fanno parte di importanti collezioni pubbliche e sono esposte in tutto il mondo: al MoMA, New York, al Guggenheim, New York, presso la British Council Collection, Londra e il Museum of Contemporary Art di Prato, Italia. Shirazeh Houshiary ha creato inoltre la Vetrata Est per la chiesa di St.Martin-in-the-Fields, per la quale, nell’ottobre dello scorso anno, ha realizzato il nuovo altare.