Sikkema Jenkins & Co. will present an exhibition of new large-scale drawings and an animated video work by Shahzia Sikander on view from October 21 through December 3, 2011. Entitled, Sift, Rift, Drip, Shift, the exhibition focuses on the process of transformation. Seeking elements with ‘possibilities’, Sikander culls symbols and motifs from her surroundings as well as historical sources, altering them to cultivate new associations. Abstract, representational and textual forms coexist and jostle for domination. Underpinning the visually compelling works is Sikander’s interest in paradox. Simultaneously espousing narrative and its absence, the works explore juxtapositions that enable multiple interpretations.
In the drawing titled Practice makes Perfect, Sikander takes apart rote learning by slowly transforming the act of repetitive writing into a cage-like form. Repetition is also employed as a movement in time, as elements in Hohlraum come together and fall apart. The idea of collapse is further examined in the drawing Walled States and the animation The Last Post.
Drawing remains a fundamental tool of exploration for Sikander. However ideas housed on paper are often put into motion in her animations, creating another form of disruption as a means to engage. While the animation, The Last Post can be seen as a metaphor for societies in flux, it is also an outcome of Sikander’s ongoing interest in the colonial history of the Indian Subcontinent as well as the British opium trade with China. The music for this work is composed by Chinese American musician Du Yun whose work exists at artistic crossroads of chamber music, theater, pop music, cabaret, storytelling, visual arts, and noise.
Shahzia Sikander was born in 1969 in Lahore, Pakistan, and currently lives and works in New York. She holds a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Sikander’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among many others. She is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 2006. Her work can also be viewed in a solo exhibition curated by Hou Hanru at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston through November 26th.