DATE & TIME
Thursday 27 April
Departure from South Kensington at 9:30 am
5 King Edward Mews
London SW13 9HD
Shirazeh Houshiary was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1955, where she attended university before moving to London, UK, in 1974. She has a BA from Chelsea School of Art (1979) and lives and works in London, UK.
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 Martin 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).
Houshiary, who was a Turner Prize nominee in 1994, has had solo and group exhibitions at the Camden Arts Centre, London (1993); SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2002); Tate Liverpool (2003); the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007); RISD Museum, Providence (2011); and the Royal Academy of Arts, London (2012), among others. The artist was included in the 17th Biennale of Sydney in 2010 and the 2012 Kiev Biennale, Ukraine.
Houshiary’s work is in prestigious public collections including the British Council Collection, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Prato; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and Tate Modern, London, among others. The artist currently lives and works in London, England.