Book launch – Seher Shah: Of Absence and Weight

Join artist Seher Shah and writer and critic Jyoti Dhar in conversation to mark the launch of  Of Absence and Weight, the first comprehensive monograph of Pakistani-born, Barcelona-based artist Seher Shah, a leading figure in South Asian art working at the edge of architectural drawing and abstraction.

The book surveys twenty years of Shah’s practice across drawing, printmaking, and sculpture. Her work speaks to the poetics and fractures of the surrounding landscape, spanning the historical and the intimate. She has explored ideas in architecture and perspective drawing traditions; contested relationships between history, objects, and time; and examined the relationship between poetry and abstraction.

Of Absence and Weight features essays by curator and writer Murtaza Vali, academic Sean Anderson, art critic Jyoti Dhar and art historian Catherine David, and is published by Rizzoli.

Seher Shah (b. 1975) Lives and works in Barcelona.

Working across drawing, printmaking, sculpture and writing, Seher Shah’s practice speaks to the poetics of how we perceive the landscape around us. Through the historical and intimate, and in between the architectural, political, and personal, she explores the abstraction of space through states of absence, fragility and fragmentation. Her studies on absence explore architectural perspective drawing traditions, fractured histories of objects and their erasure, alongside marks that retain the traces of time through real and imagined spaces. Working with variations of line, depth, and flatness, through graphite and ink, charcoal and dust, cast concrete and iron, her works are dedicated to the intimacy of mark-making through surfaces and their material weight.

Seher Shah received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. Alongside her practice, she is involved in two long-term exchanges which bind relationships between architecture, photography, drawing, and printmaking. She has collaborated with architectural photographer, Randhir Singh, on a series of cyanotype studies in form. And since 2014, with the Glasgow Print Studio, through the printmaking processes of intaglio, photogravure and woodcut through several published works. Her works can be found in collections ranging from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Queens Museum, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Art Jameel Collection, Dubai; The Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection, Dubai; Hallen für Neue Kunst, Schauffhausen; Kiran Nader Museum of Art, New Delhi; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation, Vienna amongst others.

Banner image: Portrait of the artist Seher Shah. ©Randhir Singh/Courtesy Rizzoli New York



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