Shahzia Sikander

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Shahzia Sikander, born in Pakistan but currently living and working in the United States, deconstructs an Indo-Persian tradition to which she remains attached. Sikander is fascinated by Mughal miniatures, paintings that use intense, fully saturated pigments, and is particularly fascinated by their underdrawing. Does she believe that their essence lies beneath the surface? Perhaps, but her art doesn’t attempt to answer that question. Sinopia, the drawing that underlies European frescoes, does reveal structural information, but the relation of Sikander’s drawings to Mughal art is more complex. Not interested in merely making literal reproductions, she employs faint colors and lines in geometric patterns along with fragments of figurative images.

“Shahzia Sikander: Nemesis,” at the Aldrich, had four parts. Near the entrance of the museum was Duality (all works 2004), a large wall painting in

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