More than providing atmosphere the 7.1 surround sound by Chinese composer Du Yun is an integral part of Disruption as Rapture, a 2016 HD video animation by Shahzia Sikander, a Pakistani-American artist and MacArthur “Genius” Award grantee who often collaborates with Du Yun. A chair is provided, allowing visitors to sit in front of Sikander’s large format 54” vertical monitor to experience the mesmerizing 10 minutes of visual storytelling told through layering and the constant movement of patterns, shapes, and color.
Classically trained in the art of Indo-Persian miniature painting at The National College of Arts Lahore, Pakistan, Sikander’s knowledge of India’s political history and relationship with the British Empire is supported by her superb draftsmanship. Her homage to tradition is subversive. Rather than offering benign respect she explodes the past, disrupting the image just as it seeps into your consciousness with a force that moves it beyond the frame. Gorgeously seductive, swirling figures coalesce and fragment, dissolving from macro to microcosm and back again. The hypnotic abstracted yellow orbs in Sikander’s Singing Suns (2016) are in sharp contrast to Du Yun’s frightfully discordant audio. Thankfully the curators give the option of viewing the piece with or without sound.