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Intricate works by talented artists that mesmerize art lovers
Rashid Rana, arguably among the most innovative and surely the most celebrated contemporary artists from Pakistan, has had exhibitions around the world to much critical applause. Incidentally, the artist’s first ever major retrospective takes place in his home country. Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi hosts an ambitious survey of his inventive works that pursue the logical trajectory of his illustrious career right from his evolving years as a talented artist to his rising to fame as a highly successful personality in the world of art. Some of his most noteworthy multimedia installations are on view, underscoring a unique technique, which has fetched him acclaim and pre-eminence. The versatile practitioner is known in the global art circles for his digital photographic mosaic stemming from masterful manipulations, resulting in intricately detailed and meticulously layered works. They engage the viewer at multiple levels.

His blending of digital media and photography leads to images created out of countless miniscule pixels. Dexterously juxtaposing these images, Rashid Rana obscures the boundaries between two and three dimensional forms. He challenges us to decipher the relationship between the macro and the micro image. On drawing closer, one detects the more apparent or larger pixelated images are actually small photographs that in a miraculous assembly produce the larger image! He invariably lays out the smaller images as a paradox or contradiction to the larger ones, capturing a poignant duality.” Divided in three separate sections, the exhibition is the most comprehensive survey of his two-decade long art, including paintings done during his career’s early phase up to the most famous installations that sum up the intricacy and depth of his art practice, its themes and concepts.

Meanwhile, focusing on contemporary art practices from South and Southeast Asia, ‘No Country’ courtesy the Guggenheim in collaboration with UBS charts creative activity and processes across three distinct geographic regions. The first show of a multi-year artistic initiative, it tries to engage with the region on its own specific terms, critically. Featuring recent acquisitions in sculpture, painting, film, video, installation, and work on paper, the exhibition sets out to re-evaluate the region and its countries on basis of its cultural relationships, affinities, negotiations and influences, offering a glance into the diverse contemporary art practices. The idea is to present the latent possibility of grasping them beyond their geographical and political boundaries.

Artists from Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India feature in the show. The Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator (South and Southeast Asia), June Yap, spells out in an essay that challenging romanticized perceptions of the region, the artworks on view lay bare a complex set of conditions that resulted from the rise and fall of kingdoms and empires, and which bear the historical traces of colonization and the often-traumatic birth of nations. These works explore universal themes of national identity and community, cultural knowledge, power, and faith such as ‘The boy who got tired of posing’ and Shilpa Gupta’s sculptural piece that documents the data about the fenced border existing between Pakistan and India. Amar Kanwar will also feature in the group exhibition will move to Singapore and Hong Kong’s Asia Society where the Guggenheim Museum team will work in collaboration with curators to adapt it to the local audiences.

On the other hand, talented artist Tallur L.N.’s new solo takes place at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Employing a wide range of materials like bronze, wood, silicone, concrete, terracotta, and silver, the works on view include sculpture, a site-specific installation and wall pieces. Dr. Chaitanya Sambrani has elaborated how his work tends to reaffirm the death of future-driven progress. The future is already obsolete. Eternal and omnipresent speed propels us headlong into a chaotic intermingling of conditions where the vernacular and the international commingle in uneasy marriages, and where epiphanies are only to be found stumbled upon in the refuse heap amongst the endlessly accumulating pile of debris.”

Looking to challenge the futility of desire and the bondage of materiality, he traces dichotomies between the figurative and the abstract, the tangible and the ethereal, the decorative and the conceptual so as to unearth new meanings on contemporary existence. An accompanying note mentions: “Karma Yoga is a model for a larger sculpture of similar form and is titled after the belief that a person’s present is based on his or her past and this process of continuity will be in action until the individual attains a zero balance. Tallur is exploring the ways to become liberated through the repetitious movement of the body as it works the machinery in an endless cycle sans clear consequence.”

Last but not the least, a new group exhibition at the PM Gallery & House in London collates a diverse group of international artists - all inspired by their sojourns on foot – resulting in works done in a wide array of media such as photography, installation works, and film. Underlining its core aim and thought, an accompanying note to the exhibition elaborates, “From land art and conceptual art to street photography and the essay film, across the last four decades many artists have acted as explorers whether making their mark on the rural wilderness, documenting small journeys, or undertaking close examination of the urban environment around them.”

Atul Bhalla’s ‘Yamuna Walk’ features in it. The photographic account of his purposeful journey along the river points to different facets of life along Yamuna and underlines the recurrent paradoxes prevailing within India - breathtakingly beautiful areas leading to many others languishing in poverty. The highly polluted river, considered extremely sacred by the Hindus, suggests another such social schism, which is polluting Delhi both aesthetically and spiritually.