Art Fairs > 2014
Nikhil Chopra | Munir Kabani + Jana Prepeluh
Single channel | 13 mins 6 sec
Edition of 5
The title is borrowed from the Balkan Mediterranean expression suggesting a condition where there are no aspirations: it is an exalted state of mind and body to which humanity aspires. While in India and elsewhere Fjaka is achieved with long-term meditation, in Dalmatia it is simply a gift from God.
During the work, an island is studied as a sculptural form. It is mapped through the slow orbiting of the camera that alludes, perhaps, to planetary systems and emphases constant change in repetition.
The rock in the middle of the ocean is both a refuge and a trap from which there is no escape route. Though seemingly uninhabited, eight characters emerge in separate corners, each engaged in solitary actions. The sunshine and the calm blue waters are the backdrop, juxtaposed against the melancholy that each character displays.
Chatterjee & Lal and Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, are pleased to present a solo booth by Rashid Rana, the second time they are doing so at Art Dubai. Utilising the grid structure, the artist has recently begun to rearrange famous paintings such as The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus (1618) by Peter Paul Rubens and The Oath of the Horatii (1786) by Jacque Louis-David, chopping them up into smaller digital fragments, before scrambling these famous compositions into pixelated and codified puzzles.
Collectively known as the Transliteration Series, the individual works have been created using a technique of splicing and stitching that mutate Old Master paintings into compelling new images, images that could only be the work of Rashid Rana. The booth presents a selection from the wider series. While Rana has also manipulated historical examples from the South Asian context, including I Love Miniatures (2004), he is still drawn back to the relative fame and wealth of information that surrounds Western art and particular Old Master painting.
“My work is often a three-way negotiation between myself, my immediate physical surroundings and what I receive- whether through the internet, books, history or collective knowledge.” Rashid Rana, Art Review, 2013.
In the present series there is something carnal, almost violent, in the process of becoming of the works. Rana complicates and realigns such divided notions as figuration and abstraction, manipulation and reality, but also succeeds in knocking the world off its axis and transcending both traditional and technological means of communication. The technique of image-making for these works from Rana is not just a formal device; the act of breaking large pictures into tiny pixels and then combining them to make another image is a comment upon our fragmented and deconstructed surroundings. We are condemned to survive in a fractioned and fractured world, not much different from the surfaces of Rashid Rana.
Widely considered to be the leading Pakistani artist of his generation, Rana trained as a painter at the National College of Arts in Lahore and at the Massachusetts College of Fine Arts in Boston. He is the founding faculty member and head of the Fine Art department at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. Recent solo exhibitions include a major mid-career retrospective of 70 works, entitled Labyrinth of Reflections at Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi (2013), as well as surveys at Cornerhouse, Manchester (2011) and Musée Guimet, Paris (2010). Participation in major group exhibitions includes the Kiev Biennial (2012): Fotomuseum Winterthur, Whitechapel Gallery and Saatchi Gallery, London (2010); the Asia Society, New York (2009), the fifth Asia Pacific Triennale, Queensland Gallery of Art, Brisbane (2006) and the Singapore Biennial (2006). The artist lives and work in Lahore.