Shirazeh Houshiary (1955 − )
Houshiary was born in Shiraz, Iran. She initially trained in theatre, turning to the visual arts after her arrival in London in 1973. She studied at Chelsea School of Art, London 1976-1979, was Junior Fellow, Cardiff College of Art, 1979-1980, and her first solo exhibition was subsequently at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff in 1980. She quickly became established at the forefront of the younger generation of sculptors working in Britain in the 1980s, and her work was included in important group exhibitions such as Aperto '82, XL Venice Biennale in 1982, and Les Magiciens de la Terre at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris in 1989. Houshiary's first solo show at the Lisson Gallery, London was in 1984, and she has continued to show there on a regular basis ever since. She had her first solo exhibition in New York at Lehmann Maupin gallery in 1999, and a second in 2003. The Centre d'Art Contemporain, Genève organised a solo museum show for the Musée Rath, Geneva in 1988, which then toured to the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford in 1989. Her solo exhibition, Ithmus, was first shown at Magasin - Centre National d'Art Contemporain de Grenoble, before touring to the Museum Villa Stuck, München, the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, and Hochschule für Angewandete Kunst, Vienna in 1995-1996. Her work was included in the XXIII Bienal de São Paulo in 1996, Material Culture: The Object in British Art of the 1980s and '90s at the Hayward Gallery, London in 1997, Skultur: A BrickIntervention, Basel in 2000, and the Skulptur Biennial Münsterland in 2003. She was short listed for the Turner Prize at the Tate Gallery in 1994, and was awarded the title Professor at the London Institute in 1997. Houshiary lives and works in London.
Houshiary's work has been informed by both her own cultural heritage and her knowledge of western art. For her sculpture of the last two decades she has worked with a wide range of materials, including terracotta, zinc, copper, brass, lead and gold- leaf, glazed brick and limestone. Following a period in the early 1980s in which she made large bio-morphic forms using clay and straw, she turned to using beaten zinc and copper for works of a more calligraphic nature. As the decade progressed, her sculpture became increasingly concerned with the universal language of geometric abstraction, a reflection of her deeply rooted interest in and understanding of Sufi metaphysics and of the art of Islam. Over the last decade she has made a series of elliptical brick towers in collaboration with the architect Pip Horne. The balance of darkness and light, a key motif in Houshiary's work, and the essential elements of earth and wind, are encapsulated in the rhythm and energy of the spiralling tower forms: "The column creates visual movement when approached and passed, transforming its dual nature of earth and weight to air and lightness." Since 1992, Houshiary has also concentrated on drawing and working on canvas. Using graphite or ink on a black or white ground, she creates intricately drawn circular patterns made up of minute Arabic words. The text cannot be read as the surface marks are so delicate they appear to dissolve, leaving only an ethereal, shimmering presence: "My evolution has been from form to formlessness. I have tried to capture the substance or the essence of things rather than the thing itself." In her recent four-screen video installation, Breath of 2003, the drawings come to life, with each screen capturing a fleeting mist which expands and contracts, as if breathing on glass. The rhythm of the breathing is animated by both a resonating bass and vocal chants from Islamic, Buddhist, Jewish and Christian voices.
Lynne Cooke: Shirazeh Houshiary, Lisson Gallery, London, 1984
Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Jeremy Lewison: Shirazeh Houshiary: Ithmus, Magasin - Centre d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble, Museum villa Stuck, München, Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht, 1995
Fereshteh Daftari: Shirazeh Houshiary: Breath, Skulptur Biennial Münsterland, 2003
To abstract means to remove, and in the art sense it means that artist has removed or withheld references to an object, landscape or figure to produce a simplified or schematic work. This method of creating art has led to many critical theories; some theorists considered this the purest form of art: art for art’s sake. Unconcerned as it is with materiality, abstraction is often considered as representing the spiritual.
A piece of cloth woven from flax, hemp or cotton fibres. The word has generally come to refer to any piece of firm, loosely woven fabric used to paint on. Its surface is typically prepared for painting by priming with a ground.
The depiction of shapes and forms on a flat surface chiefly by means of lines although colour and shading may also be included. Materials most commonly used are pencil, ink, crayon, charcoal, chalk and pastel, although other materials, including paint, can be used in combination.
An artwork comprised of many and various elements of miscellaneous materials (see mixed media), light and sound, which is conceived for and occupies an entire space, gallery or site. The viewer can often enter or walk around the installation. Installations may only exist as long as they are installed, but can be re-created in different sites. Installation art emerged in the 1960s out of Environmental Art (works of art which are three-dimensional environments), but it was not until the 1970s that the term came into common use and not until the late 1980s that artists started to specialise in this kind of work, creating a genre of ‘Installation Art’. The term can also be applied to the arrangement of selected art works in an exhibition.
A three-dimensional work of art. Such works may be carved, modelled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, relief, and made in a huge variety of media. Contemporary practice also includes live elements, as in Gilbert & George 'Living Sculpture' as well as broadcast work, radio or sound sculpture.
Images recorded on videotape or on optical disc to be viewed on television screens, or projected onto screens. The medium through which these images are recorded and displayed.
- France, Valenciennes, Musee Des Beaux Arts
- Malta, Valletta, St James Cavalier Centre For Creativity
- Cyprus, Nicosia, Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre
- Zimbabwe, Harare, National Gallery Of Zimbabwe
- Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, National Gallery Of Zimbabwe In Bulawayo
- South Africa, Cape Town, South African National Gallery
- South Africa, Johannesburg, Johannesburg Art Gallery
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- Pakistan, Karachi, Hindu Gymkhana
- Germany, Essen, Folkwang Museum
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- Czech Republic, Prague, Riding Hall, Prague Castle
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- Russia, St Petersburg, The Russian Museum
- New Zealand, Wellington, National Art Gallery
- Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building
- Australia, Brisbane, Queensland Art Gallery
- Australia, Art Gallery Of New South Wales
- Australia, Perth, Art Gallery Of Western Australia