Imran Qureshi Imran Qureshi

Imran Qureshi

Pakistani
b. 1972
/

Overview

'My work is very connected to the tradition that gave birth to it, but it also tells the story of that time in a different language and from a different perspective. I retain my voice when telling the story.'

 

Imran Qureshi has developed a contemporary practice rooted in the tradition of 16th-century Mughal miniature art, encompassing figurative and abstract works on paper, monumental paintings and site-specific installations. His work constitutes a unique synthesis of traditional motifs and techniques with current issues and the formal language of contemporary abstract painting. He combines traditional motifs, techniques and symbolism with conceptual ideas, oscillating between an unparalleled attention to detail and a gestural energy reminiscent of Action Painting. The use of gold leaf and red acrylic paint is a distinctive feature of his work. The luminosity of gold-leaf alludes to the celestial plane, in contrast to the vibrant splashes of red and ornate vine motifs that become symbolic of the vulnerability of the human body.
 

The fragile beauty of Qureshi's work is modulated by socio-political reflections on contemporary life. The colour red is a clear allusion to the lifeblood that flows through our veins, while his flower motifs evoke the possibility of renewal and growth. A sense of balance is maintained between the dualities explored in these works, such as violence and beauty or death and regeneration, which are shown as opposing yet intertwined forces. For the artist, 'the flowers that emerge from the paint represent the hope that – despite everything – the people sustain somehow their hope for a better future'. Using the representational techniques of miniature painting to depict our modern reality, Qureshi's work speaks in part to the friction of a world in which novelty collides daily with orthodoxy.

Imran Qureshi has developed a contemporary practice rooted in the tradition of 16th-century Mughal miniature art, encompassing figurative and abstract works on paper, monumental paintings and site-specific installations. His work constitutes a unique synthesis of traditional motifs and techniques with current issues and the formal language of contemporary abstract painting. He combines traditional motifs, techniques and symbolism with conceptual ideas, oscillating between an unparalleled attention to detail and a gestural energy reminiscent of Action Painting. The use of gold leaf and red acrylic paint is a distinctive feature of his work. The luminosity of gold-leaf alludes to the celestial plane, in contrast to the vibrant splashes of red and ornate vine motifs that become symbolic of the vulnerability of the human body.
 

The fragile beauty of Qureshi's work is modulated by socio-political reflections on contemporary life. The colour red is a clear allusion to the lifeblood that flows through our veins, while his flower motifs evoke the possibility of renewal and growth. A sense of balance is maintained between the dualities explored in these works, such as violence and beauty or death and regeneration, which are shown as opposing yet intertwined forces. For the artist, 'the flowers that emerge from the paint represent the hope that – despite everything – the people sustain somehow their hope for a better future'. Using the representational techniques of miniature painting to depict our modern reality, Qureshi's work speaks in part to the friction of a world in which novelty collides daily with orthodoxy.

Born in Hyderabad, Qureshi lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan. He studied miniature painting at the National College of Arts in Lahore, where he now teaches the discipline. Considered one of Pakistan's most important artists, he has received international recognition for his site-specific installations that respond to architectural space, referencing the historical or political significance of the buildings that contain them. These include Blessings Upon the Land of My Love, created in 2011 for the Sharjah Biennial, and They Shimmer Still, created for the Biennale of Sydney in 2012. In 2013, he created a large-scale, site-specific work for The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden Commission in New York. The same year he was awarded the Deutsche Bank’s Artist of the Year and received his first solo exhibition in Europe at the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle in Berlin. His work has since been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Barbican Centre, London (2016) and Kunsten Museum of Modern Art, Aalborg, Denmark (2016), as well as realising site-specific projects at theWashington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. (2018) and Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2018), among others.

Videos

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Artist's Eye Imran Qureshi

Artist's Eye

Imran Qureshi
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Imran Qureshi Idea of Landscape

Imran Qureshi

Idea of Landscape
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Imran Qureshi Two Loves| Nuit Blanche | 2014

Imran Qureshi

Two Loves| Nuit Blanche | 2014
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Imran Qureshi Bibliothèque Ste-Geneviève | Nuit Blanche | 2014

Imran Qureshi

Bibliothèque Ste-Geneviève | Nuit Blanche | 2014
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Group Exhibition Eurasia. A View on Painting

Group Exhibition

Eurasia. A View on Painting

Publications

Imran Qureshi Idea of Landscape
Imran Qureshi Idea of Landscape
Imran Qureshi Idea of Landscape

Imran Qureshi
Idea of Landscape

News and Press

News and Press

Installation view of Yan Pei-Ming's Against the Light at Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg Villa Kast Installation view of Yan Pei-Ming's Against the Light at Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg Villa Kast
Atmospheric image Atmospheric image