Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pakistan @ the summer auctions in London

by Artwallaa

Aisha Khalid - Source: Sotheby's website 
The Summer auction sales for the South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art will start from next week with Christies and Sotheby’s auctioning on the same day (June 11, thankfully on in the morning and one in the afternoon) while Bonham’s “Islamic and Indian Art’ is scheduled for the 18th of June.

With the artists continuing to make mark on the international auction scene, there are 37 works of Pakistani artists appearing in 26 lots over 4 different auctions in June alone. Sotheby’s has given prominent space to 26 works from Pakistani artists with lot number 61-76 in a total of 90 lots (Lot #66 is from Zarina Hashmi and I would consider her as much Pakistani as Indian, even though she is technically now American). Christie’s ‘South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art’ has works from Pakistani artists sprinkled across the entire auction, with eight works in 7 lots. Bonham’s has a couple of beautiful Gulgees while Rashid Rana’s famous Veil Series (Veil IV) appears in the main stream Sotheby’s ‘Contemporary Art Day’ on June 27th.

Sadequain - Source: Sotheby's website

The auctions represent a good mix of both modern and contemporary Pakistani artists starting with the seven Chughtai etchings at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The next one is an unusual, untitled and a very early work of Sadequain from 1950 at Soethby’s. A pen and ink on paper, it portrays a village scene and seems to have good provenance, purchased by Dutch expatriates living in Pakistan in 1956 (good provenance has become critical in the past decade as fakes have flooded the market). The second Sadequain is also an ink on paper composition from 1962. Christie’s also has two paper works of Sadequain.
Untitled (Lady)
Allah Buksh - Source: Christie's website
There is a small (12 by 8 inches) and peculiar work of Allah Buksh appearing in the Christie’s. A water colour and pencil work on card, it is the portrait of a lady in traditional clothes and beautiful shades of pink. This wok was recently sold in a Swiss auction house in November 2012.
Ismail Gulgee (Pakistan, 1926-2007) Untitled,
Ismael Gulgee - Source: Bonham's website

The two Gulgees at Bonham’s are the artist’s trademark works. Both compositions are rich in colour, with confident and somewhat violent exhibition of brush strokes.
Green & Red Composition
Shemza - Source: Christie's website
And then there are beautiful works of Shemza who continues to have a strong resurgence more than 27 years after he passed away. His two works at Christies (Lot #33 and 34) are real gems based on the brilliant use of geometric forms. Sotheby’s has 4 works of Shemza too which are good, but Christie’s take the cake on Shemza!
Untitled (Reshape)
Imran Qureshi - Source: Christie's website
On the contemporary side, both auction houses seemed to have dug up an Imran Qureshi each. The artist has catapulted to the main international scene after winning the prestigious Artist of the Year award for 2013 and also after the opening of his Roof-top installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  Both works are from his 2005-06 ‘Reshape’ series, one coming from the ASAL Collection (The Art Fund out of London) and the other from India. Equally important (if not more in iconic sense) is the work of Rashid Rana appearing in the mainstream (where global artists are put together regardless of regions they come from) Sotheby’s auction ‘Contemporary Art Day’. The highly provocative and equally acclaimed work from the Veil Series will undoubtedly create excitement amongst collectors globally.

Naiza Khan - Source: Sotheby's website

There are two works from the usually ‘difficult to get’ Aisha Khalid from her 2006-07 exhibitions in London and Hong Kong. Also included in the sale are works from Farida Batool (‘Line of Control’ is provocative at many different levels), Naiza Khan, Sehr Shah and Talha Rathore.

The quality and the quantity of the work appears much better than the spring collection in March (in New York). Collectors of Pakistani art are in for an exciting few weeks.
Click here to go to Christies website
Click here to go to Sotheby's related website page
Click here to go to Bonham's related website page

Monday, June 3, 2013

Pakistan Art News is on Facebook

To like our page, click here

Pakistan @ Art Basel Hong Kong 2013

by Artwallaa

 Source: Artwallaa, Little Bird, Respective Gallery Websites
Whether you call it the power of the brand or it actually is the case – the first art fair after Art Basel had taken over the Hong Kong Art Fair decidedly looks better.  The layout was more fluid rather than straight lined, the first floor hall had a feel of a more curated show rather than the glitziest of pieces getting the centre stage, and the supporting infrastructure around the fair appeared definitely a couple of notches above the previous years.

With Hong Kong becoming the third destination for Art Basel after Basel and Miami, the city has undoubtedly become the international hub for the visual arts in Asia.

Pakistan had a very strong presence at the Art Basel Hong Kong. Gandhara-art (Hong Kong, Karachi) continued to be the unrelenting gallery showcasing Pakistani artists at the fair since its inception in 2008. This year it presented works of Imran Qureshi, Aisha Khalid, Atif Khan, Adeel-ul-Zafar and Khadim Ali.
We also had works from Risham Syed (Project 88, India), Faiza Butt (Vadhera Art Gallery, India), Shazia Sikander (Pillar Corias Gallery, London), Imran Channa (XVA Gallery, Dubai) and Shezad Dawood (Paradise Row, London). Green Cardamom (London), the other regular participant focussing on Pakistan, was missed this year as the gallery had closed down some six months ago.

The focal point of attraction continued to be Imran Qureshi given his recent successes as Deutsche artist of the Year, 2013 and his Roof Garden Commission at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. His work at Art Basel, took a new direction where his Portrait Series reappeared after a space of a few years, combined with his, now trade mark, blood coloured floral motifs. Besides his work, Imran’s monograph was in big demand too and the bookstore had run out of stock on the second day.

Also at Gandhara was Aisha Khalid’s who returned to her tulips with the politically laced works titled ‘West looks East’. While may be too subtle for most visitors, the depth of Aisha’s trademark ‘bullet holes’ in the East and the lifeless and robotic depiction of the tulips and their stems (very different from her previous tulips) are worth noticing and enjoying.


Faiza Butt’s work ‘My Love Plays in Heavenly Ways 2’, set in a light box and shown at the India Art Fair earlier this year too, grabbed attention due to its pointillism technique and the aesthetically pleasing execution. Slaying of a dragon (depicted in the work), though an act of myth and folklore in the West may not be seen as good Feng Shui in the Orient.


Risham Syed’s ‘Lahore Series’ is one of my favourite works from the artist. Small canvases, the size of a postcard, beautifully depict ordinary Lahore houses and are very nostalgic for non-resident Pakistanis. This is the same series which was shown at Rohtas Lahore a few years ago.
Khadim Ali’s star continues to rise and his work got a lot of attention especially from the Australian visitors (Khadim resides in Sydney). The artist continues to get significant international attention, with Guggenheim recently adding his work to its collection. His ‘Rustam’ series at the Art Fair were an instant hit.
Imran Channa had a whole booth to himself and had works ranging from print, canvas and video. Atif Khan's 'Conference of Birds' got a lot of attention.

While Hong Kongers should be happy that with the success of the Art Basel, the city has now decidedly found a permanent place in the calendar of the closely knit international art fraternity; Pakistanis should be equally happy that Pakistani art and artists are very well represented at the most important art fair in the East.