Three of the exhibits on displaly.—White Star
Three of the exhibits on displaly.—White Star

KARACHI: One of the interesting things about sculptural forms is that their tactility or their tactile nature allows the viewer not only to visualise the dimensions that the artist aspires to work with but also feel them to a degree that the visualisation assumes a concrete shape then and there.

An exhibition of Fahim Rao’s artworks titled Shab-o-Roz commenced at the Koel art gallery on Thursday. The tangibility of the ten works done in iron, brass and stainless steel is noteworthy because the form that the artist is using to convey his message carries the physical and psychological dimensions of the content side by side, in unison, as if both are mutually reinforcing.

This is the reason that Rao has called his works Shab-o-Roz, which means day and night or the routine of life. Mind you, he is not talking about the perfunctory aspect of existence. Rather, he is trying to interpret the word ‘toil’ through his labour. It can be clearly seen the amount of diligence that has gone into making these exhibits, which is the actual idea of the entire exercise. The first piece in iron, for example, sets the tone of the different phases that Rao wants the viewer to understand and, if possible, feel. It seems as if the exhibit wants to embrace the entire cosmos. The embrace does not necessarily create a cozy picture.

The seventh exhibit, done in brass, enables the viewer to get a clearer picture. Unlike the first one, and despite the latter having aesthetic charm, getting closer to it feels as if it will clutch your soul the moment you cross a certain limit. And the viewer has to decide what that limit is. Therefore from embrace to clutching, the whole gamut is covered.

The exhibition will run until May 17.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2016