KARACHI: It is not easy to paint faces and interpret life out of them, because faces are the most overt of all symbols used by artists. For many 20th century thinkers and philosophers life’s perfunctory routine (physical and psychological) effects of which can be seen on the face is the centripetal force that makes artists’ creative endeavours moving in different directions end up to form a whole.
An exhibition of the very talented Sausan Saulat’s latest body of work titled ‘This, That and the Other’ commenced at the Koel Art Gallery on Monday. The show is indicative of the fact that the artist wants to break certain moulds or patterns that one gets used to in a society where the freedom of expression is not easy to come by. It may not be Saulat’s own experience, though there are self-referential pieces as she herself puts it. What counts is the artist’s ability to feel and express what’s happening around her which, in a manner of speaking, personalises her effort.
The exhibition has a set of paintings and videos. There is a connection here: the paintings too speak of existence in motion. The first exhibit ‘Zohreh’ (oil on canvas) introduces the viewer to Saulat’s creative world. The face of the protagonist stares at the viewer and doesn’t convey anything but ennui. The viewer steps back a bit and realises it is the entire body of the person, especially her hair, that reveals a story of ennui.
Posture plays an important part in Saulat’s artworks. In the second exhibit, a triptych ‘Death of the Author’ (oil on canvas) she shows the protagonist in three postures taken from one scene.
There are two ways of looking at the piece. One, the physical change that has occurred in the body of the subject; two, the static psychological sate.
Then again, a series of faces takes centre stage in ‘It’s Not Me, It’s You: Fear of Flying (mixed media on panel). However, the capsules and pills that accompany each picture can’t be overlooked, which basically hint at the faces behind the faces dilemma.
Then Saulat surprises the viewer with something that doesn’t seem to part of the show because it’s a map of a country (digital print), reddened, almost shaped like a species we all know very well. And its title: Land Escape.
As for the installations, well check this one out: imagine a flush-tank in your bathroom having an emergency vehicle light instead of a flush handle. Thought-provoking.
The exhibition will continue until Sept 25.