Shahzia Sikander – Authority As Approximation

Sep 03 – Sep 30, 2009

Curated by Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya

Main sponsor:gandhara-art

Para Site Art Space is honored to present Authority As Approximation, a retrospective of time based video works by acclaimed artist Shahzia Sikander. For her first solo presentation in China, five video works have been selected, spanning from 2003 to 2008, representing an in-depth study on her research on moving image. The exhibition includes seminal works like SpiNN (2003), which was shown in Venice Biennial Arsenale exhibition, and it also comprises her latest film, the video-essay Bending The Barrels (2008).

Shahzia Sikander’s Bending The Barrels depicts a Pakistani Army military brass band, and examines this formation as a political device. The work stresses the interaction of a superimposed text and the accompanying soundtrack. On the meaning of this film, cultural critic Aditya Dev Sood explains that “In her choice of Pakistani Army Bands as a subject for visual capture and representation, Sikander triggers deep resonances from within the tradition of Indo-Islamic miniature painting. The corporeal language, rhythm, space-making and compositional effects that she discovers and creates in film appear rooted in courtly spectacles as well as in their painterly representation, in various Mughal and later Company and British Imperial styles.” This work was premiered earlier this year in New York.

The work of Shahzia Sikander is often seen as a critique and a deconstruction of the traditional imagery of India and Pakistan. Aside from her drawings on paper, her video works also consist of interferences that give rise to other readings, where the combination of musical composition and images submerges us in an all-encompassing experience.

On this occasion the venue has been transformed into a black box screening gallery to comply with the semantics and standards of the moving image inside the gallery space. The exhibition allows us to delve into one aspect of Shahzia Sikander’s artistic praxis that constitutes a departure from her seminal miniature drawings, and unveils to us the critical rigor of her approach to other media.

Shahzia Sikander has had solo shows in Whitney Museum (New York), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C), The Renaissance Society (Chicago), MCA (Sydney) and Ikon Gallery (Birmingham), among others.

Nemesis, 2003, Digital Animation
SpiNN, 2003, Digital Animation
Pursuit Curve, 2004, Digital Animation
Dissonance to Detour, 2006, Digital Animation
Bending the Barrels, 2008, Video

Curator’s Talk by Alvaro Rodriguez Fominaya
(Sunday) 6 September 2009; 2pm at Para Site Art Space