Imran Qureshi is an exceptional representation of contemporary art from Pakistan; he perfectly combines the reclamation of his artistic roots and transports this into a modern context. The Barbican’s site-specific exhibition presents us with a collection of Qureshi’s delicate paintings ornamented with gold and blood-red paint, depicting nature and people.
His work is a unique combination of traditional motifs and techniques (which stem from the 16th-century Mughal masters) with current issues and the language of contemporary abstract painting. The process behind the Mughal art form is meticulous, therapeutic and meditative; everything from the paper is handmade, multiple layers are glued together. The works are born from hours of being bent over an easel, executing tiny strokes with a squirrel-haired brush. The painted leaves and dragonflies are millimeters small. Qureshi’s trademarks the miniature paintings with violent strokes of blood-red paint and hectic streaks of blue that overrun otherwise tranquil depictions.
The Curve Gallery is mysterious, dark, only Qureshi’s paintings are delicately lit on the walls together with his floor and wall paintings of blood stained fauna. The viewer is able to fully immerse themselves in the paintings and meditate on the time and pain they carry with them. This exhibition is a gem, relaxing and moving, a wonderful opportunity to experience the finest art emerging from the subcontinent.
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