Shirazeh Houshiary

Beating of her Wings II


Not on display

Shirazeh Houshiary born 1955
Acrylic paint, paper and graphite on paper
Support: 575 × 760 mm
Presented by the Weltkunst Foundation 1987

Catalogue entry

T05015 Beating of her Wings II 1987

Black and silver acrylic paint, pencil and collage on brown wrapping paper 575 × 760 (22 3/4 × 30)
Various inscriptions in Persian towards b.r. and towards b.l. and inscribed ‘Shirazeh Houshiary’ in pencil on back b.r.
Presented by the Weltkunst Foundation 1987
Exh: Shirazeh Houshiary: Breath, Lisson Gallery, Sept–Oct. 1987 (no number)
Repr: Shirazeh Houshiary, exh. cat., Centre d'art contemporain, Geneva 1988, p.12 (col.)

T05015 depicts a hat-shaped form very similar to that shown in T05014 (see previous entry). However, there are some differences, for example, the tail prominent in T05014 is missing, and the silver pod shape appears to be a second pair of wings with its tips joining at the base of the form. In addition, a collage of a small pencil drawing of the hat-shaped form on white paper has been stuck to the brown paper support to the left of the main part of the image. Drawn over the collage are lines indicating, albeit minimally, the corner of a room. Over the collage and its support the artist has also inscribed a poem by Jalalu'ddin Rumi, a thirteenth-century Sufi mystic. Taken from his book Divan Shams, it is the same poem inscribed on ‘Beating of her Wings I’ (T05014, see previous entry). The artist commented to the compiler on 19 October 1994 that the drawing on the collage repeats the main image, thereby reinforcing the relationship between the image and the poem, which relies on the repetition of words and phrases for their rhythm and meaning. The artist has similarly used collage in ‘Beating of her Wings III’ and ‘Beating of her Wings IV’ (see entries on T05016 and T05017) and ‘Study for “Distance is Lit by Round Wings”’, 1987 (repr. Geneva exh. cat., 1988, p.22).

In conversation with the compiler on 2 March 1994 the artist suggested that the form in this image has the feeling of a skull or cavity, redolent of emptiness. The artist said that during a ceremony of initiation the Sufi novice receives a hat. This ceremony signifies death of the ego.

T05015 is one of at least eleven works on paper made by the artist between 1985 and 1987, that, together with a group of sculptures, addressed the subject of the angel (see the entries on T05022, T05013, T05014, T05016 and T05017). Seven sculptures refer directly to an angel or angel's wings in their titles. T05015 is one of four works on paper particularly referring to the theme ‘Beating of her Wings’ (see entries on T05014, T05016 and T05017).

The artist has approved this entry.

Published in:
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986-88, London 1996

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