Washed upon the shore … and more

Published December 29, 2015
Iram during a performance on the opening day of the show on Monday.
Iram during a performance on the opening day of the show on Monday.

KARACHI: Amin Gulgee is a seasoned artist. He has been making sculptures and creating installations for more than two decades and is a socially mobile person. His work is known to all those in Pakistan who have even a modicum of interest in art. Has that taken the element of surprise out of his work? The answer is, no. Here’s why: an exhibition of Amin’s artworks captioned Washed upon the shore began at the Canvas Art Gallery on Monday evening. While at the heart of the show are the sculptures and installations that the artist has recently come up with, the opening day was marked by performances that were developed around his pieces made of copper, bronze, glass and silver leaf. Not that the artworks needed that, but the fact that the performances were in harmony (by virtue of their ceremonial posturing) with his creative output, lent an added dimension to the whole process.

It has to be said, though, that Amin’s art vocabulary has expanded horizontally. This means that he is not aiming for a higher goal; rather he is exploring the world, both physical and spiritual, which exists around him. ‘The Empty Egg’ series (copper) is an evidence of it. The emptiness is significant because it is indicative of lifelessness that artists are always taken in by. He is not investigating birth; he is looking for it. This can be inferred from the fact that using metal to talk about something that’s fragile and readily breakable is creating a contrast which is in-your-face. So it seems.

Then there are the unmissable moons in the exhibition. Again, they are not as much a cosmic entity as they are an object through which the artist tries to examine existence. What happens, in return, as with Amber Moon (copper and glass), that the artworks develop eyes of their own and start to examine the artist himself. The result is not easy to describe.

A series of copper and glasswork.
A series of copper and glasswork.

The artists who participated in the performance on the inaugural day of the show were Joshinder, Sunil, Ali, Ammad, Zeerak and Iram. The exhibition, curated by Zarmeene Shah, will remain open until Dec 31.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2015

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