Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is pleased to announce the first exhibition of Imran Qureshi in our Marais gallery space. Qureshi, who lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan, was born in 1972. His unique style combines the motifs, symbolism, and ornamental techniques of Mughal miniature painting with contemporary conceptual approaches.
The exhibition Idea of Landscape brings together a series of paintings, works on paper, as well as a video, which explore the dialogue between life and death. Leaves and nature represent the idea of life, whilst the colour red (that appears at first glance like real blood) represents death. The red also reminds Qureshi of the situation today in his country, Pakistan, and the world, where violence is almost a daily occurrence. “But somehow, people still have hope,” Qureshi says “hence the flowers that emerge from the red paint in my work represent the hope that—despite everything—the people sustain somehow, their hope for a better future.”
Mapping the idea of landscape, Qureshi’s floral ornaments cover canvases and penetrate spaces like vines. The permeability that borders, spaces and bodies experience in the wake of a violent attack, is also a metaphor for social structures, that interact with the nervous system. The work conjures up the vulnerability of the body as well as the social membrane bringing to life the arteries of our existence.
The titles of his works reflect not only these metaphors but also social and cultural connotations. And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood is taken from a poem by the Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, whose lyrics Qureshi heard on the radio as a child. It is about people who are buried without being honoured or without the circumstances of their death being investigated.
Renowned for his rooftop installation of 2013 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Qureshi also participated in the Nuit Blanche in Paris in 2014 with an installation at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève and on the Quai d’Austerlitz. In the same year, his paintings and site-specific installation was on view in the inaugural exhibition of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto titled Garden of Ideas: Contemporary Art from Pakistan. Recent projects include The God of Small Things at the Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum in Michigan. He also participated in the 2013 Venice Biennale in the main show, The Encyclopedic Palace, curated by Massimiliano Gioni. During the 2014-15 winter, Ikon Gallery in Birmingham presented a solo exhibition by Qureshi, Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year 2013. His work is currently on view at the 56th Venice Biennale in The Great Game held in the Iranian Pavilion. For 2016 he is preparing an exhibition at the Barbican in London and for the reopening of the new exhibition spaces of the Kunsten in Aalborg, Denmark.
Imran Qureshi is represented in the permanent collections of major institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
A catalogue will be published to accompany this exhibition.