Private view: Thursday 21 February 6–8 pm
Gallery open: Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm, Sat 11am – 6pm
Public event: ‘Writing within drawing’ Shahzia Sikander in conversation with Kate Macfarlane.
Wednesday 20 February 11am. RSVP essential.
Internationally recognised, Pakistani born American artist, Shahzia Sikander is best known for her experimentation with the formal constructs of Indo-Persian miniature painting in a variety of formats and mediums, including video, animation, mural and collaboration with other artists.
Over the years, she has pioneered an interpretive and critically charged approach to the anachronistic genre of miniature painting. Underpinning the work is also Sikander’s interest in paradox, societies in flux, and formal and visual disruption as a means to cultivate new associations.
For her second solo show at the gallery Shahzia Sikander is presenting a new 3-channel animation work, which will also preview at the Sharjah Biennial in March 2013. Accompanying the animation are 4 large scale drawings and 4 smaller works on paper.
Focusing on the Strait of Hormuz and the area’s historical power tensions, the animation ‘Parallax’ is inspired by the idea of conflict and control. Drawn elements come together to create dissonance and disruption. Abstract, representational and textual forms coexist and jostle for domination. Spheres made of hair spin and sing, Christmas trees made of valves and spools spout, while undulating colour fields create pitch and fervour and large swaths of static noise erupt into flocks. Human voices recite and narrate, creating tension and rhythm while oscillating between audible texts and the environmental sounds. Visual vocabulary is culled from drawings and paintings to construct the animation, giving the motifs and symbols a shifting identity as they come together to re-create meaning within the digital space.
In her current practice, drawing and animation are interlinked and inform each other. Ideas housed on paper are put into motion. Patterns of thinking and movement are worked out via drawing. Moving between these two mediums is a way for her to see and convey multiple sides to a situation. The resulting shift in perspective functions as a vantage point highlighting the distance between two locations namely drawing and animation. Translation thus emerges as a concept. Text embedded in the drawings also functions as a tool to further explore ideas around translation, as in translation’s relationship to a tradition, and tradition with all its inherent redactions.
In the drawings titled ‘Redaction’, ‘Mirage’ and ‘I am the exact imitation of the original’ the play on words implies a certain narrative while the meaning is kept in flux. Is original a construct? What is the distance between the original and its translation and at what point does the translation become an original. The distance thus becomes the interim, the interstice, the pause, the silence, the interval, the separation, the lacuna or the gap between two positions. It is exactly this space that the drawings and the animation tend to explore.