Imran Qureshi, artist of the year. First solo show in Rome.

A press conference with exhibition visit and an opening are not enough for this great show by Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi at the MACRO in Rome.
Qureshi, won the Deutsche Bank' Artist of the Year 2013 award, the annual recognition for young artists particularly involved in social issues.
Co-curated by Friedhelm Hütte (Global Head of Art at Deutsche Bank) and Bartolomeo Pietromarchi (Director of MACRO), the solo show opened in Rome the 25th of September after its opening exhibition, last April, in Berlin Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle. 
Born in 1972 at Hyderabad in Pakistan, Qureshi now lives and works in Lahore where he also teaches miniature painting at the National College of Art.
His work is a precious combination of past tradition and contemporary. He mixes together the ancient Mughal miniature painting (developed around the 16th and 17th century) with a contemporary approach and subjects.

Miniature painting as discipline came into the artist's life during the years at the National College of Art in Lahore, as it was one of the required course. One of the teacher also pushed the young student to follow his natural approach to miniature. As Qureshi states: "I did not choose it, it kind of chose me".
Today his work explores different passages, from miniatures to big size ovals and large scale installation.
Beautiful red flowers on a gold background are bleeding all around. Poetic images that speak of innocence are here covered with red-blood paint.
The artist can't avoid thinking of our dark times that he is experiencing every day in his country where acts of violence and intolerance became almost usual. But this state of things, unfortunately, is a reality in many countries.
The series of Missiles (part on show in Rome) are referring to the Indo-Pakistani arms race.
The two beautiful site-specific installations are the middle passage between the miniatures at the beginning of the exhibition on dark walls and the Missiles and large ovals in rooms with natural light.
They are both a big impact on the visitor especially because it is possible to live the work, walk next to it or around it.
I want you to be with me. The room is quite dark,  the light is on the artwork hung on the wall and from the ceiling, but red-blood paint leave the paper limits to continue on the floor.
And They Still Seek The Traces of Blood is a mountain of crumpled-up paper that is filling the room and the visitor has a quite small corridor to walk through the next room.

The show left me thinking and pushed me to walk through it again many times. Somehow I liked to come back to the beginning of the show, in the very first room where there is only a small self-portrait to welcome the visitors. It is beautiful image of the artist smelling a flower. Gold and orange are preponderant. Many dragonflies are surrounding the artist's profile. They are probably announcing a change. We will see in the next rooms what will happen.

Imran Qureshi. Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year 2013.

25 September - 17 November 2013
MACRO 

via Nizza 138, Roma
+39 06 67 10 70 400

www.museomacro.org

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