When Chance Meets Precision, A Conversation with Shirazeh Houshiary
by Jonathan Goodman
Shirazeh Houshiary, who was born in Shiraz, Iran, and moved to London in 1974, had her first solo show in 1980 at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. Early on, she won recognition as part of a group of sculptors, including Richard Deacon and Tony Cragg, who came of age in the 1980s. Her work was selected for the 1982 Venice Biennale, as well as for the influential exhibition “Les Magiciens de la Terre,” at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 1989.
Houshiary’s work is a compelling mixture of Western and Persian influences, with an emphasis on mystical experience—the poet Rumi is an important source. In her most recent show at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, the featured paintings, videos, and sculptures were relatively small in number but impressive in their reach. Regardless of medium, her works regularly suggest visionary experience, offering an alternative approach to contemporary art based in beautiful craftsmanship and determined idealism. Though Houshiary is associated with a strong generation of artists, it can also be said that her Iranian origins have made her independent—
a culturally hybrid individual, cognizant of and sensitive to imagery and thinking beyond the boundaries of Western culture.
...see the entire article in the print version of November's Sculpture magazine.
Installation view with (left) Flux, 2013, cast glass and mirror-polished stainless steel, 88.2 x 40.1 x 137 cm.; and (right) Flicker, 2013, cast glass and mirror-polished stainless steel, 84.4 x 35.3 x 113.7 cm. Works installed at Glasstress, Venice, 2013..