— Photos by White Star

KARACHI: In the field of art, New York-based artist Frank Stella is a modern-day giant. When someone once asked him about the art of sculpting, he said: “A sculpture is just a painting cut out and stood up somewhere.”

It is an intelligent remark in the sense that sculptors and painters do not belong to different realms. Their job is to depict the universe around them as they see it or as they would like to see it. An exhibition of sculptures titled ‘Cast Rituals (3D Box Portfolio)’ opened at the Indus Valley School Gallery on Tuesday. It is an interesting show featuring the works of 11 artists. In terms of interpretation, the scope for a detailed analysis is limited. However, some of the exhibits demand critical attention.

Let us first discuss how the show has been organised. Eleven artists have produced 25 identical sculptures and each piece is replicated to form an exact edition of the original exhibit.

There are big boxes and each box has 11 sculptures in them. Apart from that, three individual editions of each artist are there.The most striking piece in the exhibition is by Abdul Jabbar Gul. It is titled ‘Ordinary Soul’ (aluminum and wood). The darkness around the face, which has an air of gloominess about it, is sensitively portrayed. Though the name given to the exhibit is self-explanatory, until the viewer sees it they cannot understand what the artists has tried to achieve. It is the ordinariness of not just a face but of a group hailing from a certain social stratum.

While ‘Silent’ (fiberglass) by Jamil Ahmed Baloch is technically different, it has the same creative force as Abdul Jabbar Gul’s work. The veiled character, despite not being visible, is expressive mainly because of its posture.Saba Iqbal’s ‘Hawaee Fire’ (brass) touches on a different issue. It is probably more relevant on an impersonal level than any other piece on display because it symbolises the violence that has engulfed our society.

The aesthetics involved in the piece indicate the kind of perverted glamour associated with the subject.

If on the one hand social commentary can be sensed from some of the exhibits, on the other, the refinement with which Sheherzade Alam has used stoneware indicates the element of finesse that the artist is known for.

Adeela Suleman’s ‘Steamed’ (steel) is an eye-catching effort marked by visual elegance. Content-wise it is open to interpretation. The exhibition will continue till Oct 13.

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