Gooding Mel, Shirazeh Houshiary, exh. cat., Lisson Gallery, London (29 May – 26 July 2008), London, Lisson Gallery, 2008
Shirazeh Houshiary – Isthmus, Magasin – Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Grenoble, 1995→
Shirazeh Houshiary, Lisson Gallery, London, 29 May – 26 July 2008
Iranian sculptor and painter.
Shirazeh Houshiary moved to London in 1974 and joined the Chelsea School of Art. She then attended the Cardiff College of Art from 1979 to 1980 and found herself associated with Richard Deacon and Anish Kapoor’s group. While her art may be rather abstract and her interest in the spiritual palpable, she stands out through her use of specific sources of inspiration, such as Islamic art and architecture. Since the 1990s, her work has also shown the influence of the Sufi mystical doctrine. Houshiary defines art as a by-product of the soul’s journey. She started by modelling biomorphic sculptures, using materials such as clay or straw, then moved on to metals. Her work became physically simpler, her style more stripped-back, and her materials more delicate. Geometry began to play an increasingly important part: Bloom in 2005 (Midtown, Tokyo); Undoing the Knot in 2007 (Lisson Gallery, London); Loom in 2009 (Lisson Gallery, London), column-shaped pieces constructed as ascending spirals with small aluminium or steel bricks. One is reminded of Brancusi’s Endless Columns, but also and especially of minarets, particularly the minaret of the Samarra Mosque in Iraq, commonly called Al-Malwiyya (“the spiral”).
The sculptor is also a painter, who began with pencil drawings on paper mounted on aluminium, then moved on to canvas and monochromes. Some of her all-black paintings reveal the presence of transparent veils – in fact pen marks including lines of Sufi poetry.
Shirazeh Houshiary, Altar, 2010, installation view, St Martin in the Fields, London, © Photo: James Morris, © Shirazeh Houshiary
Shirazeh Houshiary, Flux & Flicker, 2013, Flux : aquamarine glass, 135 x 86 cm, Flicker : amethyst glass, 294.6 x 221 x 121.9 cm, © Photo: James Morris, © Shirazeh Houshiary
Shirazeh Houshiary, Christmas Tree, 2016, installation view, Tate Britain, London, © Photo: Guy Bell, © Shirazeh Houshiary
Shirazeh Houshiary, Allegory of Sight, 2015, cast painted stainless steel, 43 x 120 x 43 cm, Courtesy Lisson Gallery, © Photo: Dave Morgan, © Shirazeh Houshiary
Shirazeh Houshiary, Scintilla, 2013, pencil, pigment, and Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium, 120 x 120 cm, Courtesy Lisson Gallery, © Photo: Dave Morgan, © Shirazeh Houshiary
Shirazeh Houshiary, Flit, 2017, pencil, pigment, and Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium, 190 x 810 x 5 cm, Courtesy Lisson Gallery, © Photo: Dave Morgan, © Shirazeh Houshiary