Shirazeh Houshiary (British, born 1955) Spoon and Salt1984

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Lot 16AR W
Shirazeh Houshiary
(British, born 1955)
Spoon and Salt
1984

Sold for £ 25,000 (US$ 34,499) inc. premium
Shirazeh Houshiary (British, born 1955)
Spoon and Salt
1984

copper

246.5 by 35 by 32.5 cm.
97 1/16 by 13 3/4 by 12 13/16 in.

This work was executed in 1984.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Lisson Gallery, London
    Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas
    Sale: Sotheby's, New York, Property from the Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, 9 May 2008, Lot 46
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner



    What is the connection between the aesthetic and the spiritual? Shirazeh Houshiary's multifaceted practice which spans sculpture, painting, installation and architecture, strives to answer this question. From an early age, Houshiary read the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi, a practitioner of Sufism, the mystical tradition of Islam. Her early practice was an attempt to represent the essence of his poetry, with her sculptures almost acting as ideograms. Accordingly for Houshiary, her works - despite their aesthetic accomplishment - are merely the vehicle to a higher state of meaning, as she herself attests: "An artist is someone who is capable of unveiling the invisible, not a producer of art objects" (the artist in conversation with Virginia Button, The Turner Prize 1994, exh. cat., Tate Gallery 1994, p. 11).

    The present work is a quintessential example of Houshiary's early practice, and was constructed by hand pressing thin copper sheets around a wooden framework. The delicate creasing to the cladding and use of pins to hold the sheets in place gives the sculpture an almost leathern appearance, which belies its physicality. Indeed, Spoon and Salt, 1984, is a palpable artwork unified with the space in which it is installed, with its rhythmic arches in gentle contact with the wall. The negative space left by the artwork's form is suggestive of the artist's universal themes of poetry, calligraphy and architecture.

    Spoon and Salt, 1984, was executed in the same year as Shirazeh Houshiary's first solo show at the Lisson Gallery, where she would go on to exhibit a further six times throughout her career. Up until 2008, the present work was part of the distinguished Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection where it would have been in the company of sculptural titans like Brancusi, Rodin, Arp, Calder, Caro, and Moore, to name but a few. Houshiary came to prominence in the early Eighties, having moved from Iran in 1973 to study at Chelsea College of Art in London. Her dynamic and ground-breaking practice led to her being heralded as part of the vanguard of new British sculpture, alongside Richard Deacon and Anish Kapoor. This culminated in her nomination for the Turner Prize in 1994, and has led her work to be included in world class public collections including the Tate in London, and The Guggenheim and MoMA, both in New York.
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