The framework of meaning

Published November 26, 2021
Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition.
—White Star
Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition. —White Star

KARACHI: When a person utters a phrase or sentence, more often than not, the addressee will understand it — unless it has words that the person who it’s addressed to is not familiar with. Sometimes metaphors and symbols are used to convey messages with multiple meanings. In art, just as in literature, once the artwork is done, it no longer remains in the hands of its creator to define in absolute terms what s/he had intended to convey through it.

Art lovers are, or can be, at liberty to construe it the way they feel it right. An exhibition titled The Aftermath of Meaning by Ujala Khan featuring works in collaboration with M4HK is underway at the Full Circle Gallery. It, in a rather smart way, blurs the line between creativity and its effect that enables us to extract meaning out of it.

Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition. —White Star
Some of the artworks displayed at the exhibition. —White Star

But before one gets to the content side of things, a fleeting look at the kind of hard work and diligence that’s gone into the making of the large frames will suffice. They’re made using gold leaf, oxidized gold leaf, wire mesh, perforated steel, thread, meccano pieces, spray paints and resins with acrylic, enamel and mixed media on canvas. This is reason enough to give the nod of approval to the artists because the kind of detailing that can be seen in them is these days a pretty rare occurrence.

Then comes the subject matter, which within the framework of the technical world that Khan has conjured, that ranges from questions related the metaphysical aspects of life to the efficacy of human relationships. One of them, ’Dia de los Muertos’ is particularly eye-catching not just because it’s crammed with plastic toys, scrabble pieces and googly eyes etc, but because it talks of both joy and mourning (since the title phrase translates as Day of the Dead in connection with a Mexican celebration) in a way that reminds one of a free verse poem that has an engaging rhythm carrying a difficult to handle topic. And this is where the importance of meaning comes to the fore which becomes more of a residue of diligent creative output than something that’s always there. What a fascinating way of making art!

The exhibition concludes on Dec 3.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2021

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