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Alchemist of Line

October 22, 2017

KARACHI: An exhibition of distinguished artist Imran Mir’s artworks titled Alchemist of Line opened at the Mohatta Palace Museum on Friday.

Mir (1950-2014) was an exceptional artist. Alche­mist of line is an apt title for the show because it is the magical strength of his lines, with a keen sense of design, which sets him apart from his contemporaries. It is said that he was influenced by artists such as Frank Stella, but the fact is that the geometric shapes, the sense of space and the awareness of the importance of these elements in the cosmos make him an artist whose uniqueness is indisputable.

The exhibition has sections. It helps the viewer get a perspective on what is about to unfold before their eyes. ‘Perfect Imperfect’, for example, underlines the interplay of line and form. Lines are drawn with such precision that it lends them contextual perfection, that is, they become content. This, however, is one facet of Mir’s art. There’s fluidity to his art. Circles in his work do not just signify the cyclical movement of life, they also indicate the concentric ruptures that one experiences in life — a circle of jocundity is followed or preceded by a circle of crestfallenness.

‘Reality and Illusion’ is self-axiomatic. Illusion: this section is more vibrant with a burst of colours. Reality: it is a continuation of his idea where life is marked by interventions. This portion contains pieces from his ‘Seventh Paper on Modern Art’. The cylindrical and conical shapes now gain prominence and enhance the visual journey of the lines that the artist uses as content.

‘The Dot and the Line’ takes the show where Mir’s creative trajectories become all the more vivid. Here the viewer, happily, marvels at the dimensions of the large artworks realising that it is within these dimensions that both the reductionist and the expansionist approaches to art (therefore life) can be understood.

Alchemist of Line is curated by director of Mohatta Palace Museum Nasreen Askari and head of department of Visual Studies, University of Karachi Durriya Kazi.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2017