Cornerhouse, with Asia Triennial Manchester 11, is exhibiting the first major UK public solo show from Rashid Rana, widely considered to be the most prominent and original contemporary artist working in South Asia today.
Everything Is Happening At Once includes new and recent work that cuts across conventional notions of the scale and status of the photographic object, opening up its potential to represent cultural, social and physical realities.
The works in this exhibition, spanning 2006 to the present, blur the divide between two and three-dimensional forms to challenge the viewer’s understanding of the world in which they live. Photo sculptures, large-scale photo mosaics, installations and new video work subvert perception of size and structure and urge us to look deeper into the relationship between the fragment and the bigger picture.
The title of the exhibition is taken from the quotation ‘Time… is what keeps everything from happening at once’ and reflects the conceptual dichotomy at the heart of Rana’s practice. The exhibition explores three themes:
In Gallery 1, Dis-location explores domesticity, displacement and everyday objects, specifically through a series of heavily pixellated photo sculptures that manipulate our ideas of representation and reality, including Plastic Flowers in a Traditional Vase (2007), a still life viewable from all angles. In The World Is Not Enough (2006-7), Rana creates a portrait of an undulating seascape, whose beauty is at odds with the micro-imagery of waste and urban decay that are woven together to create it.
Between Flesh and Blood, in Gallery 2, dissects the body and physical relationships. In Red Carpet I (2007), the carnage of slaughtered animals in a Lahore abattoir hides in plain sight behind the intricate beauty and tradition of a Persian carpet. On the surface, the series What Lies Between Flesh and Blood (2009) presents deeply textured, serene abstracts, reminiscent of Rothko. Viewed more closely the works reveal their unsettling detail, each composed of an intricate mosaic of thousands of tiny images of wounds and skin, collected from disparate sources including fashion magazines, pornographic websites and medical journals.
An Idea of Abstract, in Gallery 3, represents Rana’s re-engagement with formal concerns, including new work Language Series (2010-11) and the stunning large-scale sculpture Desperately Seeking Paradise II (2010-11), which appears to depict a panoramic skyline of an imaginary city with high-rise buildings. Close-up, the bigger picture disappears and thousands of smaller images are revealed, depicting houses in Lahore, the city where artist was born and is currently based.
Rashid Rana: Everything is Happening at Once runs at Cornerhouse, Manchester from Sat 01 Oct until Fri 30 Dec 2011 and admission is free. Curated by Sarah Perks and Alnoor Mitha.
Rashid Rana – Everything Is Happening At Once
01 October – 18 December 2011