54 Eastcastle Street
Oct 12 - Nov 13
Pilar Corrias (Eastcastle Street)
Shahzia Sikander’s artwork deconstructs cultural and historical symbols and reconstructs them as mythic elements in her palimpsest of dreamlike femininity. A feminity which while not aggressively resistant has a steadfast and resistant tartness that underpins the naive somnolent qualities of these pretty pictures. The characters are themes and feel insubstantial, like dreams, familiar but with discomfort, they feel as formally lyrical as the poetry she is inspired by. Poems where one imagines the narrator yearning for freedom and pleasure yet forged through and tempered by harsh constraints they struggle. The trees are bleeding, the ceramic tesserae while achingly beautiful are broken, sharp, and dangerous to hold. There are inspirational moments in this exhibition to pique the interest of both connoisseurs of lyrical beauty and theoretical explorers wishing to investigate the new movement around Jean-Luc Nancy’s idea of ‘world-forming’.
Press and bio:
“The fact that the world is destroying itself is not a hypothesis: it is in a sense the fact from which any thinking of the world follows.” – Jean-Luc Nancy (2002)
French philosopher, Jean Luc Nancy’s contention, in the epigraph cited above, that we are in an era of global destruction precipitated by the disasters of colonialism as implemented by the economic imperatives of the West, is one that he attempts to think through in his beguiling philosophical study, The Creation of the World or Globalization (first published in France in 2002). For Nancy, the devastating impacts of neo-liberal globalisation on the social fabric of planetary existence are conceived as a death drive from which alternatives must be sought if we are not to be eviscerated by the ‘un-world’ left in its wake. Nancy’s text becomes one way of thinking through the possibilities of mondialisation or ‘world-forming’ that he posits as distinct from the disregard for humanity, difference and the individual, inherent in the universalising economic impulses and market-driven values of the global. Nancy’s concept of mondialisation is understood as an approach to ‘being-in-the-world’ in which an inexhaustible struggle for justice must reside. Whilst his text remains philosophically abstract but enticingly suggestive, Shahzia Sikander’s poetic and multivalent art practice might be viewed as visually materialising similar or parallel concerns. Yet in Sikander’s ‘world-forming’ it is the role of the feminine in the constructive possibilities of a new world order that is brought to the fore.