Lisson Gallery

Shirazeh Houshiary

Since rising to prominence as a sculptor in the 1980s, Shirazeh Houshiary’s practice has swelled to encompass painting, installation, architectural projects and film. “I set out to capture my breath,” she said in 2000, to “find the essence of my own existence, transcending name, nationality, cultures.” Veils, membranes and mists are leitmotifs in work that tries to visualise modes of perception, spanning the scientific and the cosmic while drawing on sources as wide-ranging as Sufism, Renaissance painting, contemporary physics and poetry. Houshiary finds succour in the transformation of material: Arabic words, one an affirmation the other a denial, are pencil-stroked onto canvas so lightly, and clouded over by finely wrought skeins of pigment, that they morph in front of the naked eye and defy reproduction. So too, aluminium armatures and elliptical brick towers, charged with dynamic tension, appear different from every angle, as if negating their own presence; her commission for the East window of St Martin in the Fields, London, presents a cross, warped and spanning from a circular motif, as if reflected in water. “The universe is in a process of disintegration,” she says, “everything is in a state of erosion, and yet we try to stabilise it. This tension fascinates me and it’s at the core of my work” (2013).

Shirazeh Houshiary was born in Shiraz, Iran in 1955, where she attended university before moving to London, UK in 1974. She has a BA from Chelsea School of Art (1979) and lives and works in London, UK. She has had solo exhibitions at ​Lisson Gallery, New York (2017); Singapore Tyler Print Insitute, Singapore (2016); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, Ireland (2007); Tate Liverpool, UK (2003); Museum SITE Santa Fe, NM, USA (2002); Islamic Gallery, British Museum, London, UK (1997); Magasin-Centre national d’art contemporain, Grenoble, France (1995), University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA (1994), Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (1993), Musee Rath, Geneva, Switzerland (1988), and in 2013, her exhibition 'Breath' was a celebrated Collateral Event of the 55th Venice Biennale in Italy. Major group exhibitions include ​Jesus College, Cambridge, UK ​(2017); Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini, Collezione Burri, Citta di Castello, Perugia, Italy (2016); University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI, USA (2014); Dayton Art Insitute, Dayton, OH, USA (2011); Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA (2007). She has also participated in numerous biennials including ​Cartagena deIndias, Colombia (2014); Kiev Biennale, Ukraine (2012); the 17th Biennale of Sydney, Australia (2010); and the 40th Venice Biennale, Italy (1982). She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994. 

Portal

Shirazeh Houshiary
Portal, 2018
Pigment and pencil on black Aquacryl on canvas on aluminium 120 x 120 cm 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 in

Iris

Shirazeh Houshiary
Iris, 2019
Pigment and pencil on black Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium 120 x 120 x 5.5 cm 47 1/8 x 47 1/8 x 2 1/8 in

Alar

Shirazeh Houshiary
Alar, 2016
Glass and mirror-polished stainless steel 145 x 118 x 118 cm 57 1/8 x 46 1/2 x 46 1/2 in

Allegory of Sight

Shirazeh Houshiary
Allegory of Sight, 2015
Cast painted stainless steel 43 x 120 x 43 cm 17 x 47 1/4 x 17 in

Flux

Shirazeh Houshiary
Flux, 2015
Glass bricks and stainless steel rings 135 cm height x 89 cm diameter 53 1/8 in

Umbra

Shirazeh Houshiary
Umbra, 2019
Pencil and pigment on black Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium 120 x 120 cm 47 1/8 x 47 1/8 in

Deep

Shirazeh Houshiary
Deep, 2010
Blue, pink and lilac pencil and pigments on black Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium 190 x 270 cm 74 3/4 x 106 1/4 in

String Quintet

Shirazeh Houshiary
String Quintet, 2011
Cast stainless steel Height 500 cm Height 196 7/8 in

Flood

Shirazeh Houshiary
Flood, 2010
Blue pencil with black and white aquacryl on canvas and aluminium 270 x 190 cm 106 1/4 x 74 3/4 in

Flit

Shirazeh Houshiary
Flit, 2017
Pigment and pencil on white Aquacryl on canvas on aluminium (triptych) 190 cm x 270 x 5 cm (each panel) 74 3/4 x 106 1/4 x 2 in (each panel) 190 x 810 x 5 cm (overall) 74 3/4 x 318 7/8 x 2 in (overall)

Swift

Shirazeh Houshiary
Swift, 2016
Cast aluminium 132 x 84.5 x 35.2 cm 52 x 33 1/4 x 13 7/8 in

Christmas Tree

Shirazeh Houshiary
Christmas Tree, 2016/1993
Tree and gold leaf Photograph courtesy Joe Humphreys, Tate Photography.

Right of Spring

Shirazeh Houshiary
Right of Spring, 2012
Pencil, pigment and black Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium 190 x 190 cm 74 7/8 x 74 7/8 in

Chrysalis

Shirazeh Houshiary
Chrysalis, 2014
Anodised aluminium and polished stainless steel 780 x 70 x 50 cm 307 1/8 x 27 1/2 x 19 5/8 in

Between

Shirazeh Houshiary
Between, 2010/2011
White pencil, red and white pigment with white Aquacryl on black Aquacryl ground on canvas and aluminium panel 190 x 540 cm (diptych) 74.8 x 212.6 in (diptych)

Commission for St Martin-in-the- Fields, London

Shirazeh Houshiary
Commission for St Martin-in-the- Fields, London, 2008
Shirazeh Houshiary and Pip Horne
Etched mouth blown clear glass and shot peened stainless steel frame

Bloom

Shirazeh Houshiary
Bloom, 2006
Aluminium and steel 98.6 x 70.8 x 611.3 cm 38 7/8 x 28 x 240 5/8 in Photo: Hirofumi Tani

Deluge

Shirazeh Houshiary
Deluge, 2012
Pencil, pigment and white Aquacryl on canvas and aluminium 120 x 120 cm 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 in

Exhibitions

  1. Shirazeh Houshiary: Nothing is deeper than the skin

    Shirazeh Houshiary: Nothing is deeper than...

    3 November – 22 December 2017

  2. Shirazeh Houshiary: Smell of First Snow

    Shirazeh Houshiary: Smell of First Snow

    22 May – 4 July 2015

  3. Shirazeh Houshiary: Breath

    Shirazeh Houshiary: Breath

    1 June – 24 November 2013

  4. Shirazeh Houshiary

    Shirazeh Houshiary

    6 June – 27 July 2012

  5. Shirazeh Houshiary: No Boundary Condition

    Shirazeh Houshiary: No Boundary Condition

    12 October – 12 November 2011

  6. Shirazeh Houshiary: Self Portraits

    Shirazeh Houshiary: Self Portraits

    20 September – 21 October 2000

  7. Shirazeh Housiary: The Sense of Unity

    Shirazeh Housiary: The Sense of Unity

    16 September – 15 October 1994

  8. Shirazeh Houshiary: Isthmus

    Shirazeh Houshiary: Isthmus

    8 May – 20 June 1992

  9. Shirazeh Houshiary: Breath: Recent Sculpture

    Shirazeh Houshiary: Breath: Recent Sculpture

    28 September – 31 October 1987

  10. Shirazeh Houshiary

    Shirazeh Houshiary

    11 October – 3 November 1984

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