Shirazeh Houshiary speaks to Artnet News ahead of the opening of her Cork Street exhibition
22 June 2021
For Shirazeh Houshiary, being close with nature is key. Even her West London studio is located right by the woods so she can listen to birds and keep in tune with nature’s ebbs and flows.
Houshiary moved to London in 1973, leaving her native Iran to study art. Her installations, paintings, and sculptures often take inspiration from Eastern culture, poetry, and mythology.
To create the five works in her latest solo exhibition, “Pneuma,” now on view at Lisson Gallery in London, she placed her supports flat on the floor and poured water mixed with pure pigment onto canvas, before meditatively layering inscriptions on top of the forms.
We spoke to the artist about connecting with nature, the joys of ambiguity, and what taking long walks along the river can do for her practice.
What are the most indispensable items in your studio and why?
My books are very important and they are scattered on the floor of my studio. I am always dipping in and out of them throughout the day.
What is the studio task on your agenda tomorrow that you are most looking forward to?
I work for long periods of time on the painting on the floor of my studio. Tomorrow is an exciting time, as I will place the work on the wall for the first time. After a long period of focused observation, my gaze will be unfocussed tomorrow and looking at it in its totality.
What kind of atmosphere do you prefer when you work? Do you listen to music or podcasts, or do you prefer silence? Why?
Sometimes I listen to music but recently it is the birdsong outside of my studio that has captivated me. There are a lot of trees around my studio and many bird species visit during the day, especially in spring. I found connecting to nature is important, as it always reminds me of my place within it.
Read the full conversation in Artnet News.
“Shirazeh Houshiary: Pneuma” is on view at Lisson Gallery, Cork Street, London, through July 31.