Saturday, January 26, 2013

Exclusive at Art21 | Shahzia Sikander: “The Last Post”

Another amazing video by Shazia !!

January 25th, 2013, by
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Shahzia Sikander, Drawing for “The Last Post.” Courtesy the artist.

“I’m interested in taking a form, breaking it apart, and then rebuilding it. It is about transformation for me — whether it is the transformation of a image or a mark or a symbol or if it’s a transformation of a genre or transformation of a medium – but it is a very core notion that I think stabilizes my practice.”
In today’s Exclusive episode, Shahzia Sikander discusses her animated video work The Last Post (2010). Sikander also describes how beginning to create animations was a natural evolution in her studio process because she had already been working with narrative and layering in her paintings and large-scale installations.

Filmed in 2012 at her Manhattan studio, the video tells a story about the development of her work yet the nature of editing is that content gets cut, even things that you or I may find interesting. During our interview, Sikander shared personal observations that didn’t make it into our final video, but because these thoughts shed more light on her creative process, I thought it important to share them here.

The Last Post began with a series of paintings that Sikander created using gouache, ink and watercolors. The images were then scanned at high resolution, allowing her to analyze and manipulate them in Photoshop and After Effects. In looking at her work under a digital microscope, she was presented with new opportunities and challenges. “One very interesting observation for me is that everything is magnified in HD space,” she said. “So all the marks that create the tactile experience of a drawing become magnified, and may not necessarily sit well in the animation or in a digital space. It’s a very fine line.”

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Shahzia Sikander, Drawing for “The Last Post.” Courtesy the artist.

In her attempt to transform paintings into moving images, Sikander must determine which paintings are suitable. For her, this is an experimental process. “There’s a lot of testing going on in terms of how certain forms can create a sense of dimension, a sense of scale, a sense that they can expand indefinitely,” she explains. Of the paintings that make the cut for her animations, she might only use a fraction of the original image. A detail might be magnified and given new associations. For instance, the French horn in the painting at the very top here was extracted for The Last Post and the two figures were removed. Sikander brought the horn together with the top half of the image just above, which she enlarged and used as the background. The seamless end result floats through today’s Exclusive in a moment characterized by almost celestial depth and foreboding movement.

As much as Sikander’s painting process has informed her animations, working in animation has affected her approach to painting, the medium for which she may be best known. “The biggest challenge of animations is to create not just one or two works, or a body of work, but to be able to create drawings that have infinite sensibility of time, scale, and space, so you can freely go through them and use them,” she said. “Working in animation has allowed me to take more care in making the drawings. It has a feedback process.”

Shazia Sikander and Aisha Khalid at the Singapore Art Museum

Aisha Khalid and Shahzia Sikandar are participating artists at:  Credit Suisse: Innovation In Art Series - The Collectors Show: Weight of History exhibition - Jan 25 to May 5, 2013.
The Collectors Show is one of the most anticipated shows on the arts calendar and continues to present compelling contemporary artworks from private collections in Asia. Defying conventional expectations of private art collections as being merely showpieces to be hung on walls, this edition features a spectrum of more than 20 works that show how artists perceive, and re-conceive the multiple facets of history in the Asia-Pacific region.
Shahzia Sikander, The explosion of the Company man, 2011, Gouache, hand painting, gold leaf and silkscreened pigment on paper, 203 x 20 x 173 cm, The Rose Trust collection.
Curated and independently organised by SAM, Weight of History examines how artists engage with, and evaluate, local traditions and culture, translating them into masterpieces which display the interconnected relationship between past and present in our increasingly globalised societies.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Aisha Khalid's work "Appear As You Are, Be As You Appear" at the Singapore Art Museum" 

Aisha Khalid's work "Appear As You Are, Be As You Appear" at the Singapore Art Museum as part of the Exhibition 'The Weight Of History' from 25th January to 5th February, 2013.
" Noticed our new profile picture? This artwork, 'Appear As You Are, Be As You Appear' by Aisha Khalid will be showcased in our upcoming show, The Collectors Show, which opens at the end of this month. It is also featured on the cover page of... our latest copy of The Quarterly (January to March 2013).

Interested to find out more about what's coming up at SAM this quarter? Simply download a copy of The Quarterly at It's definitely an exciting new year for us at SAM!"

Cover image: Aisha Khalid, Appear As You Are, Be As You Appear (detail), 2010, fabric (black velvet, red silk), steel needles, 93.98 x 55.88 x 12.7 cm, Mimi Brown collection. Image courtesy of the artist.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fahd Burki at Grey Noise, Dubai

Jan 14- Feb 28, 2013

For his second solo exhibition in Dubai, the artist presents a series of small paintings on paper rendered in acrylics and marker pens, illustrating characters that belong to a personal lexicon of forms.

Playfully executed with a stark graphic sensibility, the figures populating Burki’s work exhibit a sense of celebratory ritual; neon spectral colours clash with deep black and hues of grey to create a state of flux in his totemic anthromorphs. There is coherence between the ancient and modern in the work, sharp edged geometry and synthetic colours contained within primitive silhouettes give the work an atemporal quality. Burki takes his visual cues from a disparate number of sources from tribal and folk art to science fiction and various strands of contemporary popular culture. The work self-consciously references the past, but remains innovative and contemporary.

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Ascent 2012, Acrylics and marker on paper, 56.5 x 43.2 cm. Source- Grey Noise Gallery.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Ali Kazim at Jhaveri Contemporary Mumbai : Jan 15 - Feb 18

Ali Kazim is best known for his exquisitely layered paintings, predominantly of lone men. The portraits, simple forms set against flat, clear backgrounds or fields of earth-toned colour, are invested with a distinct tactility: multiple layers of watercolour pigment on textured paper lend the paintings a sense of low relief. This technique, of meticulous repetitive actions, results in a meditative engagement with process that adds a psychological depth to Kazim’s work. His protagonists are reservoirs of mystery, absorbed in reverie, in inner places of truth and stillness.
Material is metaphor for Kazim, and in his new suite of paintings and drawings, he uses Japanese tissue and tracing paper alongside gold leaf and hair in refined explorations of the human body, this time his own. A series of delicate drawings and abstract compositions mark a new direction in the artist’s visual language.

Kazim’s paintings include elements of narrative and fantasy, however their primary impulse remains humanistic: to interact with another or to examine the self. Spare, profound and unsentimental, his art effortlessly transforms the quotidian into the metaphysical, drawing on the powerful themes of time, fate and memory, yet making them entirely his own.