Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Violence, Beauty, Hope: Imran Qureshi is Deutsche Bank's “Artist of the Year” 2013
Courtesy: Art Mag.

He’s considered one of Pakistan’s most important artists. Imran Qureshi will be presented in spring of 2013 with a large solo exhibition at the “Deutsche Bank KunstHalle”. The KunstHalle will also open with this show. Oliver Koerner von Gustorf on Qureshi’s unique work, which has radically renewed the centuries-old tradition of miniature painting while addressing highly relevant social themes.
Like beads strung on invisible threads, rain falls in precise lines from golden-hued clouds which part to reveal a patch of deep blue sky: Moderate Enlightenment, Imran Qureshi’sseries of miniature paintings made between 2006 and 2009, presents an infinitely detailed, wondrous world. Everything in it seems delicate to the point of fragility—the blades of grass poking out of the earth, the ornamental branches and vines of the bushes and trees that intertwine to create frames and patterns. The young men and women in this microcosm also seem tender and introverted, dreamily blowing soap bubbles and flower petals into the air, opening their umbrellas, or taking walks, immersed in their solitude. Their style of clothing indicates that they are of the Muslim faith. The watercolor scenes seem so light and carefree that they have to be contained in gold leaf and ornamentation in order not to fly away. A lost paradise, one might say; a look at the spiritual unity of man and nature, a traditional, comprehensible world in which everything is intact and in its place.

But this nostalgic sentiment is far too simple, as becomes clear at second glance. Qureshi counters the initial impression of the sublime and near-antiquity with the insignia of a global leisure culture: his protagonists carry messenger bags, wear cargo shorts and camouflage T-shirts. The practical military look is a clear fashion statement. In combination with religion and spirituality, however, it quickly brings fanaticism to mind. Taking these “modern” signs into consideration when looking at Qureshi’s paintings, they are no longer as formally clear. Abstraction lies hidden beneath the ornament. The gold, which quickly evokes associations to religion, could also be the gold that western artists like Yves Klein, James Lee Byars, and Andy Warhol brought back into vogue in the second half of the 20th century.

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1 comment:

  1. What is important here is the fact that to engage in a creative endeavor one does not need to do it with frowned eyebrows and all-serious state of the mind. Social Media and Visual culture