Ikon Gallery in Birmingham hosts an exhibition by Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi – Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year”. Comprising miniature paintings and site-specific installations, including new works made for Ikon, this is his most comprehensive exhibition to date in the UK.
The exhibition runs 19 November 2014 – 25 January 2015
Born in 1972, Qureshi is one of the most important contemporary artists from the subcontinent, not least because he reclaims the regionally rooted discipline of miniature painting that flourished in the Mughal courts of the late sixteenth century, and transports it to the present day. His work constitutes a unique synthesis of traditional motifs and techniques with current issues and the formal language of contemporary abstract painting.
The exhibition presents an array of Qureshi’s delicate paintings adorned with gold and blood-red paint, depicting people, flora and fauna. In Self-Portrait (2009) we see the artist himself enclosed in an oval medallion on a gold background holding a blossom surrounded by tiny dragonflies.
The installations at Ikon are developed out of major works the artist made recently for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Sydney Biennale and the Sharjah Biennial. In I want you to stay with me (2013), individual dark red pools appear across the gallery floor; upon closer examination they are filled with countless ornamental flowers, intricately handpainted in perylene maroon.
In And they still seek the traces of blood (2013) images from earlier works by Qureshi are printed on thousands of sheets of paper crumpled and gathered to form a mountainous heap. The title quotes a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz about those who have been buried without their lives honoured or the circumstances of their deaths investigated. Qureshi makes such references to current affairs in Pakistan whilst generalising about the kind of violence and injustice that is visited upon innocent people every day throughout the world.
This exhibition is organised in cooperation with Deutsche Bank. The award “Artist of the Year” is positioned as an integral part of the Deutsche Bank art programme, which has been opening up the world of contemporary art to the public for the last thirty years – through Deutsche Bank’s own substantial collection, exhibitions and projects with partners.
- Imran Qureshi, Opening word of this new scripture (detail) (2013). Gouache and gold leaf on wasli paper 38 × 57cm. Courtesy Corvi-Mora, London.
- Imran Qureshi, Opening word of this new scripture (2013), Gouache and gold leaf on wasli paper, 27 × 22cm. Courtesy Corvi-Mora, London
- Imran Qureshi. And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013