— White Star
— White Star

ISLAMABAD: A collection of paintings by Xandria Noir, a renowned Pakistani artist, was exhibited by the French embassy at its premises on Thursday.

The exhibition, titled Moi et le Monde Imparfait, or Me and the Imperfect World, brought together members of the diplomatic community, artists and art enthusiasts.

Ambassador of France Dr Marc Barety welcomed guests.

He said: “Xandria Noir is a self-taught contemporary artist who works in multiple forms of art from drawing, painting, new media, video art and photography. When she told me the title of her exhibition, I was puzzled about what the connection between the title and the paintings was.

“Having seen the works I have some idea that I would explain. When you read ‘me’ it takes you back to the subjectivity of the artist but also your subjectivity as the audience. Art is an interaction to build a consensus on what beauty is all about. The imperfect world sends me back to Plato, for whom the only perfect world is one of concepts and ideas; this world is only a reflection of those ideas. And art is a reflection of the reflection.”

Quoting Oscar Wilde, Ambassador Barety said: “It is fortunate for us, however, that nature is so imperfect, as otherwise we should have had no art at all. Art is our spirited protest.”

He added: “Xandria’s black and white works remind us of the origins of art, of calligraphy, of the beginnings of cinema and photography. It has a strong reference to the dialectics of yin and yang. Xandria, your work is not only a protest but your contribution to the world and a beautiful attempt to make our world better.”

The collection of largely black and white large canvases attracted attention as much from the shapes painted on them as the negative space. The negative space reflected the space for negotiation, navigation and peace in an imperfect world.

Lines of different sizes and marks of varying thickness create a dialogue on Xandria’s canvases, inviting the viewers to enter into an internal dialogue as the works evoke a sense of symmetry and space, geometric abstraction and an engagement of the many parts to form a whole – chaotic but not discordant.

With many of the works having a grid-like appearance, Xandria said: “I was projecting that the world is very imperfect but that I am making peace with it. I didn’t plan what I was painting, the size or the composition – it all came naturally.”

She explained her preference for black, saying, “Black and white because it helps me to express myself better, minimally. I am a minimalist. I am inspired by the black colour – I don’t intentionally choose black but it comes very naturally when I am painting.

“My work is more meditative, it is meditation and when we meditate, we practice space and peace. This is why you will see some empty space in all my canvases even where they are full. That space is what I work for. In order to make the world more perfect and to have peace, we need to have more space in our minds and our souls. The more space we have, the better the world will be for living.”

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2019