When I saw the new ouvre by British artist, with Iranian roots, Shirazeh Houshiary, I realised that she was strongly connected to nature, the cosmos and nature phenomenons such as the Nordic lights or Milky ways. From my research on Nordic countries, I subsequently travelled to as well, I knew of the phenomenon Nordic lights, which is clearly referenced in Houshiary’s work Enigma, 2020 on view in the UK for the first time.
Upon a closer look, as well small marks with pencil become visible, showing a succession like on a star map indicating points by means of little crosses on a distorted line drawn across the painting. The gallery director Louise Hayward told me, that Shirazeh Houshiary is inspired by physics, namely the string theory, for me the crosses symbolised stars on a star map and the painted distorted planes can be seen as green and blue coloured milky ways and the marked crosses indications of where stars are located in the universe.
When the work was hung, as well the connection between the works become evident as if the painted wave-like shapes across the canvas became alive and floating as well in-between the canvas’
The new body of work in Shirazeh Houshiary’s exhibition Pneuma, whom I mainly knew as a sculptor from past works I was familiar with, show this three-dimensional aspect in a painterly manner when looking closely from different angles standing in front of the canvas’ As if the nebulas in the cosmos take form and are prolongued into the exhibition space, the empty space being integral part in her carefully placed artworks on specific locations in the gallery space in Cork Street in London.
The artworks when acquired from my point of view should definitely been seen as dyptichon and tryptichon or even a series of the entire display as only then they reveal this phenomenon of creation of a nebula within the space in-between the canvas’ allowing us to temporarily stand in the cosmos ourselves.
From my point of view, a clear reference can be seen to the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, depicting Nordic lights by means of using the colour green in a very intense way throughout his artistic work over the years whilst Houshiary creates an additional layer of placing the lights in a cosmic surrounding relating it to stars and milky ways by means of small interventions with pencil.
By means of positioning them towards each other she creates a space that encapsulates us in her world whilst standing in front of the paintings, draws us into her world, dissolving it upon leaving the exhibition space.
Like Foucault said, a space always has a certain notion in relation to it’s whereabouts and history, partly man-given over the course of time, further defined by our current immediate use of it. Shirazeh Houshiary creates and transforms the exhibition space herself in a very intense manner, giving us the opportunity to dive into her world and allow us to become calm yet agitated by means of creating these as well negative versus positive in-between spaces invisible at first but engaging our eye when spending time with her oeuvre in a more detailed and intense engagement.
The exhibition can be highly recommended and is on view at Lisson Gallery in Cork Street until 31st of July during opening hours Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm and upon appointment. Prices upon request to the gallery.
All my best wishes and I am looking forward for you to experience and engage with Shirazeh Houshiary’s work,
Daniela Haberz, M.A.
Curator & Wealth Adviser for Art as Investment
AØH Art Consultancy Haberz Limited
Photo Credits: Daniela Haberz, M.A. for AØH Art Consultancy Haberz Limited
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