Labyrinth of Reflections – The Art of Rashid Rana | 1992-2012

Elisabetta Marabotto on Rashid Rana’s mid-career retrospective at the Mohatta Palace Museum

London: The Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi is currently celebrating 20 years of Rashid Rana’s career with a large scale retrospective exhibition. The exhibition, which will be on view until February 2014, is the first retrospective of the artist to be held in Pakistan.

Rashid Rana, perhaps the most celebrated Pakistani contemporary artist, has been extensively exhibiting at a national and international level.

This Karachi exhibition includes paintings produced during the early phase of his career up to the famous mosaic-like installations of recent years. These works became his hallmark and through their intricacy they have managed to engage the viewer on many different levels.

I Love Miniatures, Rashid Rana

I Love Miniatures, Rashid Rana. Image Credit: http://www.mohattapalacemuseum.com/Rashid%20Rana.html

In fact, it is the viewer’s choice to read Rana’s works either on a larger scale as if the work were one image, or to focus on the many small pictures that compose the final piece, which are often seen only after a closer look at the work.

Desperately Seeking Paradise, Rashid Rana

Desperately Seeking Paradise, Rashid Rana. Image Credit: http://thekarachiwalla.com/2013/02/26/city-notebook-labyrinth-of-reflections/

The exhibition is divided into eleven sections, in which different themes and concepts are explored.

Rana’s array of work is quite eclectic, and paradoxes and contradictions dominate his art. His technique seems to reiterate the idea that often our first impressions are misleading. In fact, in ‘the second layer’ of his works, the artist mostly discusses social and political issues using bitter irony and references from popular culture which are not always identifiable from the final appearance of the work.

Red Carpet Series, Rashid Rana

Red Carpet Series, Rashid Rana. Image Credit: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/rashid%20rana

This exhibition offers a great opportunity to go through Rashid Rana’s career and artistic reflections on different aspects of his life and ours.

More information on the exhibition can be found on the Mohatta Palace Museum website.

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