Imran Qureshi: The Violence Affecting Us All

Meet one of the most important figures on Pakistan’s art scene today – Imran Qureshi. He here discusses his visually stunning artwork, which centres on the recurrent and universal theme of violence: “Violence is not a strange thing for anybody in the world.”

“I’m not a journalist. My job is not to depict one incident in my artwork. It’s all about how things are affecting me – slowly, slowly and gradually – and then it comes out of me in the form of my art.” Qureshi feels that his work always reflects what is happening around him. Thus, in 2010 when Lahore saw an escalation of suicide attacks and bombings, this increased level of violence came to influence his colour palette: “The red colour emerges at that time as a direct reference to blood.”

Qureshi sees the colours blue and red as two opposites in dialogue: “The blue is about life – water is about life – and the blood is always about life. And at the same time blood is about death and blue could be about death as well, if the water is not in your control.” Moreover, the blue of the flowers, which ornament the floor of his site-specific installation ‘This Time Where the Twin Streams of Time Begin to Merge’ (2016), also has the feel of polluted water, and hence is also a comment on global warming: “The violence is not happening through war or weapons, it is also happening through nature. This is another new face to violence, and a threat to us.”

Imran Qureshi (b. 1972) is a Pakistani artist known for his beautifully crafted paintings, which portray a delicate repetition of decorative motifs and figurative elements, as well as his 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 his homeland Pakistan. Moreover, he reclaims the regionally rooted discipline of miniature painting that flourished in the Mughal courts of the late sixteenth century, transporting it to the present day. Qureshi is the recipient of the prestigious Sharjah Biennial 10 Premier Prize in 2011. He lives and works in Lahore, Pakistan.

Imran Qureshi was interviewed by Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen at Kunsten Museum of Modern Art in Aalborg, Denmark in January 2016 in connection to his exhibition ‘Idea of Landscape’. In the video Qureshi discusses two of his installations from the exhibition: ‘And They Still Seek Traces of Blood’ (2016) and ‘This Time Where the Twin Streams of Time Begin to Merge’ (2016).

Camera: Simon Weyhe
Produced and edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2016


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