Main Gallery

Shahzia Sikander

Liquid Light

 – , 2024


Pace Prints is pleased to announce Liquid Light, an exhibition of twelve new prints and handmade paper works by Shahzia Sikander, on view May 17 – June 21, 2024, at 536 West 22nd Street. This presentation will focus on editions and unique works made at the Pace Prints and Pace Paper studios in Manhattan and Brooklyn. An opening reception will be held Thursday, May 16, 6–8pm. A moderated conversation with the artist was held at the gallery on Thursday, June 6. A video recording of this event will be available soon.


Explore Shahzia Sikander's collaboration with Pace Prints in our online viewing room.


Encompassing drawing, painting, sculpture, and animation in her expansive art practice, Shahzia Sikander engages with many vantage points. In the past year, she has channeled her energy into print and papermaking, cross-pollinating collagraphs, pressure prints, etchings, and pulp painting into a bold and nuanced body of work that exalts the fluidity of material, transition, and process.

Sikander is known for her decades-long engagement championing non-western art history to re-animate the relevance of pre-modern manuscripts and illuminated books. Pioneering Neo-Miniaturist painting, her practice turns a critical and creative lens toward Orientalist readings of Indo-Persian miniatures by rejecting strictures of iconography, with a particular focus on gender and power roles. An alertness to binaries informs her work, and she intentionally subverts the assumptions, hierarchies, and center-margin dynamics where issues of hegemony can be unraveled across a conceptual, emotional, and visual nexus. 

Shahzia Sikander’s exhibition, Liquid Light, draws inspiration from the visual splendor of Venice, Italy, where a survey exhibition of her work, titled Collective Behavior, is being presented by the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cincinnati Art Museum as part of the 60th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Conceiving Venice as a liminal space— the space between human and water, citizen and migrant, real and mythic, powers and the powerless—establishes a mutualism between Sikander’s work and Venice’s rich history. This threshold is fecund in Sikander’s practice, in its embrace of absence and the unknown, thereby defying the expected both conceptually and materially.

Ode to Venice is an etching and relief print that references two historical works from The Cleveland Museum of Art and The Cincinnati Art Museum as its point of departure to create a feminist regatta arrival into Venice. This print blends Italianate and Persian elements on an image plane intricately worked with soft ground, soap ground and spit bite techniques, producing a celebratory glow of color and light.

Also highlighted in the exhibition is Migrant Love, a 60-by-40-inch paper pulp work whose protagonists are interconnected and autonomous, self-rooted and resilient, and exemplify the existence and movement of people across borders. This bodily form can be found elsewhere in Sikander’s practice, including a version in stained glass for the 2024 Venice Biennale’s Foreigners Everywhere.

A unique diptych titled ERA, was created by the stenciling and movement of pulp using water, and once dry, finished with hand painting by the artist. The title refers not only to an “era” of women but alludes also to the long-stalled Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution which was introduced to prohibit discrimination based on sex. This piece incorporates multiple iterations of the vast feminine lexicons of Sikander’s prolific drawing practice, given living form in the unpredictable tensions between water and pulp.

Sikander reintroduces elements of her sculpture practice into paper works using the dimensional properties of printmaking. The figure of Witness (2023), Sikander’s iconic sculpture in Madison Square Park, is flattened into a silhouette in her new work on paper, Luminous Fissures. Detailed collagraphs made of lace and fabric are embedded in paper pulp to produce Gendered Currents. As Shahzia Sikander layers and entangles global and personal histories, so too are the works marked with a material memory that is revitalized in the act of creation.

Visitor Information
536 West 22nd Street
Main Gallery
New York, NY 10011

Summer Hours
Monday–Thursday, 10–6
Friday, 10–4