Shahzia Sikander and Tim Hawkinson at MCA Sydney; Art21 videos on view

On view at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney, Australia are two major exhibitions by Art21-featured artists: Shahzia Sikander and Tim Hawkinson. In conjunction with both of these shows, Art21 video profiles on each of these artists are running on a loop in the museum’s Resource Room.

Shahzia Sikander, <i>The Illustrated Page</i> series (edition 2, detail), 2005-7.

Shahzia Sikander opened last month at the MCA and includes a major site-specific work which the artist created directly on the gallery wall.

Sikander’s work is characterised by its precision of line and delicacy of touch: from tightly structured miniature paintings to larger, more loosely formed watercolours in which pigments stain and bleed into one another. Historical tradition meets contemporary interpretation, incorporating both figurative and abstract elements. Since 2001, Sikander has also worked with digital animation, setting her miniatures into physical motion. Images break apart and reform in new hybrid permutations, while sound adds a further dimension.

Sikander was recently granted the prestigious MacArthur Award last year. She was recognised by the MacArthur Foundation for “merging the traditional South Asian art of miniature painting with contemporary forms and styles to create visually compelling, resonant works on multiple scales and in a dazzling array of media.”

Shahzia Sikander is on view at the MCA until February 17, 2008.



Yesterday, Art21 featured artist Tim Hawkinson (Season 2) opened his first Australian exhibition, Mapping The Marvelous, at the MCA.

Hawkinson has received widespread recognition for his ingenious constructions of everyday objects, often large-scale kinetic and sound-producing works, whose intricate and playful constructions engage with the human body and portraiture, incorporating mechanical components and materials such as latex, plastic, cardboard and string.

Showcased works are sculptures, photo collages and drawings from the mid 1990s to the present, all of which refer to the obsessive human need for order and containment, using maps and charts, volumes and measurements to document the world in all its excess.

The exhibition introduces Hawkinson’s extraordinary new creations—among them a bat created from shredded black plastic bags and twistie ties—as well as inflatable self-portraits, monstrous beings and fantastical structures that chatter, whistle, rotate and spin.

Mapping the Marvelous is on view through March 5, 2008.