Hammer Museum presents Zarina. Paper Like Skin

. September 30, 2012 . 0 Comments

Hammer Museum presents Zarina. Paper Like Skin, an exhibition on view September 30 – December 30, 2012. This long overdue survey of Zarina’s work will be on view September 30 to December 30, 2012 at the Hammer Museum, and will travel to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York from January 25 to April 21, 2013, and the Art Institute of Chicago from June 27 to September 22, 2013. The exhibition is organized by Allegra Pesenti, curator, Grunwald Center for the Graphic Arts.

Zarina Relief print from collaged wood, printed in burnt umber on Indian handmade paper. Edition 5/10. 29 1/4 x 21 7/8 in. (74.3 x 55.6 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Photograph: Robert Wedemeyer.

Zarina Hashmi, who prefers to be referred to simply by her first name, was born in Aligarh, India, in 1937 and has lived and worked in New York for the past 30 years. Paper is central to Zarina’s practice, both as a surface to print on and as a material with its own properties and history, which she employs in woodcuts, etchings, drawings, rubbings, and casts made from paper pulp. Although she is primarily a printmaker, she considers herself to be a sculptor as well, in part because the activity of carving blocks of wood is central to her practice. Many of the works in this loosely chronological exhibition will be displayed for the first time. Zarina’s vocabulary is minimal yet rich in associations with her life and the themes of displacement and exile. The concept of home—whether personal, geographic, national, spiritual, or familial—resonates throughout her oeuvre.

While Zarina’s work has its roots in abstraction, it has always been informed by a profound socio- political awareness. The border between India and Pakistan that was demarcated by the British during the partition of 1947 caused the uprooting and deaths of millions of people, and eventually disrupted the lives of Zarina’s family members, causing them to leave their home in 1959. Since then, Zarina’s visits to India have not been simple homecomings. From 1958, she began a life abroad and relocated to different cities including: Bangkok, New Delhi, Paris, Bonn, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, and finally New York.

Paper became a transportable surface for Zarina, readily available wherever her travels took her. She developed an appreciation for the characteristics of papermaking unique to each country that she visited and began to incorporate them into her work. In Bangkok she made her first woodcut and produced stone rubbings from temple carvings on handmade plant-fiber papers. In Paris in the mid- 1960s she studied printmaking under the tutelage of Stanley William Hayter at Atelier 17, and was influenced by the intellectual currents of the times spurred by the existentialist writings of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir’s Second Sex, and the films of the French new wave. She went to Tokyo in 1974, and continued her exploration of the woodcut practice as an apprentice of the Toshi Yoshido Studio while printing for the Dominican priest and printmaker Father Gaston Petit. She limited her palette to a range of mud-like blacks and browns, but these tones were generated as much from the varieties of paper that she selected as they were from the color of the inks. In a country where paper is embedded within the fabric of life and habitat, she deepened her relationship to the material.

Zarina moved to the United States in 1975, first to Los Angeles and then, a year later, to New York where she engaged with the local community of artists. Her involvement with the collective of women behind the journal Heresies and with the New York Feminist Art Institute introduced her to the writings and work of Lucy Lippard, Louise Bourgeois, and Ana Mendieta among others. She also cocurated Dialectics of Isolation: An Exhibition of Third World Women Artists in the United States at A.I.R. (Artists in Residence, Inc.) Gallery, the first cooperative gallery for woman artists in the U.S.

For program and exhibition information call 310-443-7000 or visit www.hammer.ucla.edu.

Category: Fine Art

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