From a distance,the mighty triangular stainless steel sculpture that is Desperately Seeking Paradise II,appears to be the image of a citys skyline. From up-close,however,the intricacy of the work is more apparent. Hundreds of small,square compartments of sorts,each containing a number of tiny images of buildings in Lahore,are placed together to create one larger image. But from yet another angle,all of these images disappear to leave a rather minimalist sculpture.
This is one from among Lahore-based artist Rashid Ranas most recent works,a collection of which is currently on display at the Fort galleries Chemould Prescott Road and Chatterjee & Lal. Titled Apposite Opposite,this is Ranas first exhibition in India in four years. On till May 26,it showcases a number of iconic works produced after he last visited India,among which are previously unseen moving image works.
Ranas basic practice consists of using hundreds,and sometimes thousands,of smaller images to make one large work,which rarely speaks of just one subject. My work is a combination of local and global influences, says the 44-year-old artist. Also,the contradiction of duality exists in many of them, he adds. The Language series,for instance,on display at Chemould Prescott Road,consists of works that are made from images of text Rana has seen in and around Lahore in the last few years.
The influence of Renaissance European art is apparent in Ranas works. Taking up almost one entire section of the gallery,Everything and Nothing is a two-part image,positioned to make one appear like a reflection of the other. Like the others,this work also comprises a number of smaller images,but each of these smaller images is one famous painting by a European artist. Whats interesting,however,is that the side of the work that is blurry from a distance actually comprises images that are in focus,up-close. Each of these paintings can be studied in so much detail. So putting them together is like the abundance of knowledge and how it blinds you, says Rana. At the same time,the side that appears to be in focus from a distance comprises images that are a blur when seen up-close.
All of these works are at Chemould Prescott Road and have been divided into four different sections roughly on the basis of themes. However,all the works,Rana says,are connected. On display at Chatterjee & Lal are a number of photo-sculptures and the Pure Beauty series works that explore representations of beauty.