Luhring Augustine is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by Zarina, marking her third solo presentation with the gallery.
Zarina’s fascination with paper has been the mainspring of her long-standing career as a printmaker and sculptor. Her elegant compositions are characterized by an affinity towards minimalism and geometric abstraction, shaped in part by an early interest in mathematics and architecture. While she employs a variety of printmaking techniques, including woodcut, silkscreen, lithography, and etching, her treatment of paper extends beyond the mere impression of text or imagery and into the recording of actions. Zarina cuts, sews, punctures, and collages paper in an ongoing effort to explore its material possibilities.
The exhibition brings together collages from the past decade in which Zarina considers the formal qualities of her chosen medium, such as texture, color, and surface. The simple act of folding or crushing imbues her materials with delicate creases that demonstrate paper’s sculptural plasticity. Whether she stains her surfaces with Sumi ink in a deep, consuming shade of black or applies luminous flakes of gold and pewter leaf, her treatment of color is defined by a relationship with light that moves beyond purely optical concerns and into a symbolic contemplation of her own spirituality. She occasionally repurposes strips left over from the production of earlier prints, which she collages and weaves together to yield hybrid compositions. These fragmentary remains operate like pieces of memory, overlaying her seemingly anonymous abstractions with an inextricable specificity. As an immigrant and world traveler, her personal reflections on the concept of home and its relationship to identity, and a sense of belonging are at the forefront of her investigations.
Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase), Zarina has been producing miniature copies of works she has created over the course of her career in an ongoing series entitled The Ten Thousand Things. On view is the third chapter of this series, which consists of 100 collages completed between the years of 2014 and 2017. The Ten Thousand Things functions as a portable index of her studio practice and more broadly, is a compendium of her ruminations on the concept of home, including geographic place, architectural dwelling, mother tongue, and religious faith.
Zarina (b. 1937) is from Aligarh, India and currently lives and works in New York. After receiving a degree in mathematics, she went on to study woodblock printing in Bangkok and Tokyo, and intaglio with S. W. Hayter at Atelier-17 in Paris. She has exhibited at numerous venues internationally, including representing India at the 2011 Venice Biennale, and her retrospective exhibition entitled Zarina: Paper Like Skin, which was presented at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2012, and at the Guggenheim, New York and the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. Selected public collections include the Tate Modern, London; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.