Houshiary's first major museum exhibition in China now underway
The first major museum exhibition of Iranian-British artist Shirazeh Houshiary in China is currently underway at Shanghai's Long Museum West Bund.
The first work that greets visitors is "Breath," a four-channel video. The work depicting hand-drawn animations represents the inhalations and exhalations of vocalists chanting multi-denominational prayers.
"I set out to capture my breath," the artist said in 2000, to "find the essence of my own existence, transcending name, nationality, cultures."
Veils, membranes and mists are leitmotifs in her work that try to visualize modes of perception, spanning the scientific and the cosmic.
Born in Shiraz, Iran, in 1955, Houshiary attended university before moving to London in 1974. She has a bachelor of arts degree from Chelsea School of Art (1979) and lives and works in London.
Since rising to prominence as a sculptor in the 1980s, her practice has swelled to encompass painting, installation, architectural projects and film.
Houshiary's other works presented at the exhibition all date from the last three years, including new organic and architectonic sculpture in glass and aluminium.
The artist's recent paintings include the deep red interior worlds of "Zygote" with the cosmic compositions in green and blue, where her palette mimics nature's elemental force of growth and origin – from algae and blood to air and water.
Her painterly process, developed over her 40-year career, begins by pouring pigment across the canvases before adding layers of inscriptions on top of the sediments and shapes formed by this liquid ground.
On the exhibition's title "Shirazeh Houshiary: Rhizome," which signifies an expanding, never-ending network of roots and possible paths, Houshiary once said "The rhizome is a map. It's a map of life. This mapping is actually what nature does in following various paths and evaluating their potential. So if you can reveal this process of networking and reevaluation at the center of one's own psychology, then you can begin to unveil your own thoughts and all its folds."
Date: Through May 7 (closed on Mondays), 10am-5:30pm
Venue: Long Museum West Bund
Address: 3398 Longteng Ave