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CONTEMPORARY PAKISTANI ART
Excellent piece by Adnan Madani on Art Now Pakistan.
“But let us look at this equation a little closer: can we not say, following this reduction that in fact the idea of a global art is as foolish as the idea of Model Town art? In which case we are left to choose categories as a matter of convenience for exhibitions, as a way of ordering images and objects in pavilions and rooms and sections, without pretending to have arrived at any ontological truth about the objects concerned. In fact, the absurdity of this reversal stems from the fact that the idea ‘globe’ is in no way simply a larger version of the ideas ‘Pakistan’, ‘Model Town’ and so on. ‘Globe’ signifies the very excess or limit of our ability to imagine a coherent or distinct identity formation. It is under this limit that the particularities of identity begin to form themselves, to derive their shapes, real, virtual, imaginary and so on. To put it another way, it is only when we begin to conceive the presence of an impossible to conceive totality such as a ‘globe’ that we can see our reflections as our ‘selves’, nations, indigenous people, immigrants, illegal aliens, invaders etc.”
"(Jameel Prize nominee) Khan is inspired by his daily routines and encounters. A chance conversation may trigger images, or the green and gold overlay in an awning might spawn an idea for an art piece. He has demonstrated that his art is based upon far more than a lazy afternoon of doodling, but Khan still claims that anyone can do what he does.
'I am not bringing anything new, nobody is, individuals just change things. Anybody can create this; I am just the person who is here right now.'
'Do we get tired of breathing in and breathing out? It is called living. I am living with the work. I am breathing in with it.' “
“In some other works like Golden Moustaches and Red Vector Chair, Tanveer turns to symbols with a broader range of meaning to encourage interpretations that are not strictly political. The large, centralized moustache from Golden Moustaches, for example, can be read as more than a jab at the infamous Zia-ul-Haq – it can be read as a comment on the patriarchal values that are still prevalent in our society. Red Vector Chair shows a gilded frame carrying a stately red chair that can be papal, royal, feudal, theatrical – suggestive, as any these, of authority and pomp.”
"Lines of Confrontation is about the destructive outcome of the War on Terror, which caused massive numbers of casualties on both sides. It narrates the calamities of (the) war on Terror against medieval, stone-age combatant"
Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space explores the creation and maintenance of borders, both physical as well as psychological, through the works of artists primarily from South Asia. These artists focus on the idea of partition as a productive space–where nations are made through forging new identities and relationships; reconfiguring memory and creative forgetting; re-writing history and the making of myths; and through the creation and patrolling of borders. Developed by the nonprofit arts organization Green Cardamom, Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space originated in London in 2009 as an exhibition focused on South Asian artists and the division of India in 1947. The project later expanded to a larger exhibition at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, incorporating works by artists from countries such as Mexico, Lebanon, and Ireland. Included in the exhibition are works from artists Bani Abidi, Francis Alÿs, Iftikhar Dadi, Anita Dube, Shilpa Gupta, Zarina Hashmi, Mona Hatoum, Amar Kanwar, Nalini Malani, Tom Molloy, Raqs Media Collective, Rashid Rana, Seher Shah, and others. This exhibition is co-curated by Hammad Nasar (curator and co-founder of Green Cardamom) and Iftikhar Dadi (Associate Professor of Art History and Department Chair Art at Cornell University).
Lines of Control is a Green Cardamom Project. Its presentation at the Nasher Museum of Art, Duke University, has been jointly organized by Green Cardamom and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University.
We are pretty excited about the addition of Mona Hatoum. This is going to be a show no South Asian art enthusiast will want to miss—check it out if you’re in the area and let us know what you think! It’ll be on from September 2013-February 2014.
Read is a multi-media installation, a suspended labyrinth-like wooden structure, concealing speakers playing the sound of children reciting the Qur’an as they memorize its verses, the standard method of instruction in Pakistan’s madrassahs. The title of the work comes from the command that the prophet Mohammad was said to have been given by God when the Qur’an was revealed to him. Abbas has structured the work so that the viewer must walk through the labyrinth, close to the speakers, offering them an immersive experience of the work. In Read the cacophony of sound filtering through the speakers, of children reciting the Qur’anic verses, is not the orderly regimented harmony that might be expected. Indeed, the chaotic babble is reminiscent of the sounds of a large number of noisy children gathered together anywhere in the world. - HA