Iranian Painter Shirazeh Houshiary Explains the Benefits of Painting on the Floor, and Why Nothing Is More Abstract Than Nature

Naomi Rea from ARTNET NEWS

Jun. 22, 2021

We caught up with the artist at her West London studio.
For Shirazeh Houshiary, being close with nature is key. Even her West London studio is located right by the woods so she can listen to birds and keep in tune with nature’s ebbs and flows.

Houshiary moved to London in 1973, leaving her native Iran to study art. Her installations, paintings, and sculptures often take inspiration from Eastern culture, poetry, and mythology.

For Shirazeh Houshiary, being close with nature is key. Even her West London studio is located right by the woods so she can listen to birds and keep in tune with nature’s ebbs and flows.


Houshiary moved to London in 1973, leaving her native Iran to study art. Her installations, paintings, and sculptures often take inspiration from Eastern culture, poetry, and mythology.


Her profile rose alongside some of the U.K.’s most prominent sculptors—such as Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg, and Richard Deacon—in the 1980s, and she was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1994.


To create the five works in her latest solo exhibition, “Pneuma,” now on view at Lisson Gallery in London, she placed her supports flat on the floor and poured water mixed with pure pigment onto canvas, before meditatively layering inscriptions on top of the forms.