press release

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents the Spanish premiere of Shahzia Sikander's Parallax (2013) from July 16 to November 22, 2015. This is the fifth work screened in the newly-opened Film & Video Gallery of the Museum devoted to video art, video installations and the moving image since 2014.

Parallax is a multi-channel installation consisting of hundreds of digitally animated gouache drawings. The artist's starting point for this piece is the contested territory of the Strait of Hormuz. In 2012 and 2013 Sikander traveled to the United Arab Emirates to participate in the Sharjah Biennial. It was there that she drew numerous details of the land, sea and desert, which she expanded digitally to create her audiovisual piece. The original score is by composer Du Yun in collaboration with three local Sharjah poets.

Parallax examines mechanisms of power and ideas of conflict and tension over the control of strategically desired geography, a place where one-fifth of world's total oil passes. Historical events that create tumult in colonial territories, naval warfare, the East India Company, imperial air and land travel routes and maritime trade all underlie Shahzia Sikander's oeuvre. In addition to exploring the factors involved in historical redaction, Parallax investigates discourse styles, verbal and poetic language, migration patterns, cultural quarantine, interaction and identity.

Shahzia Sikander is an international artist whose pioneering practice takes Indo-Persian miniature painting—a traditional style that is both highly stylized and disciplined—as a point of departure. Sikander received her BFA in 1991 from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1995. She challenges the strict formal tropes of miniature painting as well as its medium based restriction, by experimenting with scale and media including animation, video, performance, and large scale murals and installations. Sikander's innovative expansion on this traditional genre helped launch a major resurgence of work with miniature painting beginning in the 1990s at her alma mater in Lahore, which spread and brought international recognition to this medium within contemporary art practices.

Sikander was given the Medal of Excellence (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) from the Government and State of Pakistan. She is also a recipient of the U.S. Department of State's inaugural Medal of Arts Award and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "genius award."

Curated by Álvaro Rodríguez Fominaya