Sunday, November 23, 2014

Imran Qureshi review in The Guardian – a hauntingly beautiful show at the Ikon Gallery

Another city, another important art gallery/museum, another solo show, another set of rave reviews - Imran Qureshi continues to impress us and the world !


Imran Qureshi review – a hauntingly beautiful show at the Ikon Gallery

Source: The Guardian
November 23, 2014

Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi is a master miniaturist who also has bigger things on his mind
self-portrait 2009 imran qureshiSelf-portrait, 2009 (detail) by Imran Qureshi, in gold leaf and opaque watercolour on
wasli paper. Photograph: © Imran Qureshi/Ali & Amna Naqvi Collection, Hong Kong

There is a self-portrait in this hauntingly beautiful show by the award-winning Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi that shows him at work, pigment in one hand, brush in the other – so far just like any other painter. But Qureshi is not working on a picture, or upon a canvas, and he does not appear in any kind of studio.

Instead he shows himself kneeling inside of one of those rectangular stone enclosures surrounded by intricate foliage and gold leaf familiar from Indian miniatures. One sees him from above too, a bird’s-eye view of a tiny smiling man working happily upon the floor with the sharpened tip of his brush. The shock is that he seems to be painting pools of blood.

Blood-red paint – and all the many ways in which he uses it – have become something of a trademark for Qureshi. Born in Lahore in 1972, he has lived through decades of martial law, terrorism, uprisings and massacres, and there is no question that his medium is metaphorical. But what makes his work so profound is that this metaphor appears infinitely various.
Opening Word of This New Scripture, 2013 by Imran Qureshi.
Opening Word of This New Scripture, 2013 by Imran Qureshi. Photograph: © Imran
Qureshi/ courtesy Corvi-Mora, London
Blood-red spatter drifts across vast golden ovals like the floating lilies in Monet’s ponds, evanescent and diffuse, brimming with life (and with death). Blood-red paint spills down a canvas that, upended, becomes a tall conifer, its branches like radiating arteries; a tree of life.