07 July 2016

"Where the shadows are so deep"

The title of Imran Qureshi's exhibition at the Curve, Barbican (till 10 July) is a line from the great revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

He decided to make a series of miniature paintings for this huge space.

They look beautiful from a distance, but when you come close to them, they are not that comfortable. (The gummed tape left around the edges is a clue.)

 There is something threatening in each of the 35 paintings.
(The trees are like characters - you find yourself making up a story as you move from one to another.)

Traditional miniature paintings used a curve as a horizon line, and he used this to connect with the massive Curve.

He added just a few other interventions - the red bloody areas are meant to take you inside the painting, to make you feel you are part of the painting. Yet they are overlaid with stylised leaves that look like blossoms.

You can see reflections on what is happening around the arist, either on the political or social level, or the personal level.
 Nobody knows if the beautiful landscape, full of life, will become a bloody site of terror.
Towards the end of the exhibition the colours become darker, with a lot of black used. And the gold is increasingly overlaid by violent marks.

Back on the street, these violently-marked poster spaces in the tube station echo the pairing of the miniatures -

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