At first glance it looks like blood. Big, red smears and small, red spatters fill the canvases, calling to mind an abandoned battlefield, where nothing but the trail of blood remains. But if you look closely, you will discover that there is more to the blood-red colour explosions than meets the eye.
... but if you look closely, you will discover that there is more to the blood-red colour explosions than meets the eye.
In the exhibition Idea of Landscape Imran Qureshi explores the relationship between hope and fear, creation and destruction, life and death. These elements are in some way contrasts, but they also go hand in hand. All of them are present in Qureshi’s works – depending on the eye of the beholder. If you see the works from a distance, the blood dominates, but if you step closer, the blood transforms into meticulous flower formations. The works therefore symbolise life and death at the same time.
The exhibition at Kunsten is Imran Qureshi’s first solo exhibition in Scandinavia. Qureshi has created two striking installations especially for Kunsten and for the exhibition: a huge floor painting and an enormous mountain, consisting of 30,000 sheets of crumpled paper. In addition, the exhibition includes small, meticulous miniature paintings as well as large abstract paintings.
The works all start from the idea of the landscape – the inner landscape as well as the external one, our individual landscapes as well as landscapes of society and politics. The exhibition refers to social conditions in Pakistan, while also making references to the violence and injustice that affect innocent people around the world every day. The red colour explosions serve as pictorial metaphors of the violence and fear that has characterised the world since 9/11 2001. But beneath the surface it is also possible to detect life and hope, steadily trickling out of the landscape.
In 2011 Imran Qureshi obtained international recognition at a time, when the Arab Spring hit the headlines all over the world. Qureshi’s enormous outdoor installation of paintings at the Sharjah Biennial demonstrated to the art world his ability to mirror the state of the world, the influence of terror on our worldviews and the continuous struggle for freedom. Imran Qureshi has since made large site-specific works around the world – on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, in the streets of Berlin and Paris, in Melbourne and in the artist’s own homeland Pakistan – and now the turn has come to Aalborg.
Idea of Landscape can be experienced from 23 January when Kunsten reopens. The exhibition is open in the Main gallery, situated in the upper storey of the museum 23 January – 28 March 2016 and in the New gallery in the lower storey 23 January – 24 April 2016.
The exhibition has received generous funding from CKU, Centre for Culture & Development, and is part of the nationwide Images Festival 2016. The Danish Arts Foundation, Committee for Visual Arts Project Funding, and Winsor & Newton have also supported the exhibition.