Lot 89: Shahzia Sikander
Signed and dated in pencil lower right sheet; retains Smithsonian Institution label verso; retains Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden exhibition label verso
Image/sheet: 16" x 11.75"; Frame: 24" x 19.5"
Together with copy of exhibition brochure from the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Provenance: Deitch Projects, New York, New York;
Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, 1997)
Exhibited: "Shahzia Sikander: Murals and Miniatures," Deitch Projects, New York, November 1-December 20, 1997; "Shahzia Sikander," The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, March 8-April 19, 1998; "Directions: Shahzia Sikander," Smithsonian Institution, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C., November 18, 1999-February 21, 2000
Literature: Shahzia Sikander. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. 23.; Fletcher, Valerie. Directions: Shahzia Sikander. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, 1998. #18.
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Shahzia Sikander (b. 1969) has proven herself to be one of the most vibrant, engaging, and multifaceted talents in contemporary art. The Pakistani-born artist—an American resident since the early 1990s—embraces many disciplines: painting, drawing, murals, digital animation, installations, videos, and performance art. A consistent theme in her work is an examination of culture—and cultural identity—when it is set in a new context of time and place. Richly layered with imagery and dense with symbols, her 1997 watercolor, Multiple Bearings, is an archetypal example of the resonant style that marks Sikander's artistry, and marked the artist's entry into the highest echelons of the art world.
Multiple Bearings was created in the early phase of Sikander's career, and shown in solo exhibitions at Deitch Projects (1997), the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago (1998), and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (1999–2000), giving her work its widest public exposure to date. The shows were revelatory. Curator Valerie Fletcher wrote in the Hirshhorn exhibition brochure: "Shahzia Sikander's art is about complexity, contradiction, and synthesis—about past and present, Asia and America, self and society, reality and perception. Bringing together elements from diverse sources, she devises enigmatic images that reflect her own experiences and serve as the visual equivalents of mixed metaphors."
As with much of the work in Sikander's oeuvre, Multiple Bearings is grounded in her study of Indo-Persian miniature painting, an ancient format requiring immense technical skill and attention to detail. Sikander's work transforms the narrative tradition of the genre by superimposing translucent image upon image, creating juxtapositions and ambiguities. In Multiple Bearings, layered representations and iconographic gestures hint at the tensions between traditional values and contemporary life, dreams and reality, the individual and the culture at large.
Sheets, Hilarie M. "Shahzia Sikander." ARTnews 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. Toor, Salman. "Art History 101." The Friday Times [Lahore, Pakistan] 20 Sept. 2013: Vol. XXV, No.32 ed. Web. 14 Nov. 2014.