House with Four Walls | New York, Rockefeller Center | chine collé with handmade Nepalese paper | "22 x 20 cm image; 39.5 x 35 cm sheet each
“With concision and soulful beauty, Zarina maps her self and her story, the topography… of her intimate being.”
Leah Ollman, for Art in America
Since the 1960s, Indian-born artist Zarina Hashmi has challenged minimalist and cultural conventions with her stark, complex multimedia creations in metal, wood and paper. She is best known for her paper-based print works—the focus of her first major retrospective in 2012-2013, “Zarina: Paper Like Skin,” which showed at the Hammer Museum, in Los Angeles, The Guggenheim (New York) and the Art Institute of Chicago. “Paper is an organic material, almost like human skin,” she has said. “You can scratch it, you can mold it. It even ages.”
Hashmi was born in Aligarh, India, a decade before the former British colony was partitioned. Hashmi’s is a language of space and memory, and her work challenges the boundaries we construct between cultures, between men and women, East and West, and between ourselves and others. As such it also questions the authority of post-colonial borders in a world that’s both globalizing and bound by ancient traditions and geographies. Before becoming an artist, Hashmi earned a degree in mathematics; her work often employs its rigid geometries and logic. Still, for all its crisp minimalism, her textures—as well as her process—can be rough and organic. She prefers “to carve instead of draw the line,” as her gallerists at Luhring Augustine put it, “to gouge the surface rather than build it up.”
Hashmi received woodblock training in Bangkok and Tokyo, and studied intaglio in Paris with S. W. Hayter. She has lived and worked in New Delhi, Bonn, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz and New York, where she currently resides.