The first Fall exhibition will be devoted to the recent works of Zarina Hashmi, represented by the gallery since 2008. The work of the artist, born in India in 1937 and referred to as Zarina, is made of a sophisticated fabric of diagrams and maps embodying the memory of a place, of an event, the memory of an atmosphere or of an experienced instant, whether it be sonic, visual, olfactory, or emotional. It is an echo of the life of the artist, whose
journey is both personal and familial - she accompanies her husband in his diplomatic missions all around the
world - as well as social and political, in her numerous travels to cities, countries and continents. Her trips allow her to follow the teachings of great masters of engraving like Toshi Yoshida in Japan and Stanley Hayter in the Atelier 17 in Paris. Zarina works mostly on wood engraving, with papers coming from all around the world; she maps out, during her stays in these countries, multiple political conflicts and their collateral effects: the partition of India when she was 10 years old; the progressive loss of Urdu, her mother tongue; and wars of religion or the alteration of borders, especially that of separated India, which led to the migration of her entire family to Karachi, causing irrevocable nostalgia for the lost land. At the crossroads between architecture, sculpture, and xylography, her engravings on wood, her one-of-a-kind works on paper placed as mural installations, and her casts sculpted in paper pulp accompany her life journey; her work, whose main material is paper which she “considers as a second skin which breathes, grows old, can be stained, or else pierced and molded”, is rich in the tactile quality of the materials whose numerous possibilities the artist explores. Her attachment to the practice of other religions and truths is primordial, from Sufism, the predominant philosophy of Islamic India, to Buddhism.
As Zarina is moving forward in age and further along her spiritual path, her work has been shifting towards the location of her last trip, which she translates through her research on the divine light Noor, that has found shape through the use of gold leaf, obsidian ink and Sumi ink, and black or white prayer necklaces and tasbih in pearl or onyx-marble. Her recent works reveal a peace and light that leave behind all the winding paths of life.
Zarina’s work is represented in major public collections, most notably in the US at the MOMA, Whitney, Guggenheim, and Metropolitan Museums in New York; at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Menil Foundation in Houston, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles; in Europe at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Tate Gallery in London; and in India in the Contemporary Art Museum in Delhi. Her first exhibition in Paris dates back to 2008 for the inaugural exhibition in our new space, followed in 2011 by her solo exhibition “Noor”. A retrospective traveling exhibition of her work, entitled “Zarina: Paper like Skin”, was presented in the United States in 2012, first at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, then at the Guggenheim in New York and at the Chicago Art Institute. It was accompanied by a catalogue presenting some sixty of her works from 1961 until today.