I Love Miniatures
- I Love Miniatures
Photomontage. Diasec digital print with gilt frame
"This portrait of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir is the first example of Rashid Rana’s play with pixelation which has been given diverse titles such as ‘pixellated collage’ (Kavita Singh) and ‘digital/photographic mosaic’, or ‘photo-tiling’ (Adnan Madan).It comprises of a photoshop montage of hundreds of micro images which appear as pixels. When looked at closely they reveal themselves to be diverse shots of the massive billboards which dominate Lahore’s skylines. (V. Whiles)
I Love Miniatures is a landmark work, in which Rana references a famous portrait of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. He builds up the portrait by marshalling thousands of photographs of billboards from Lahore in a method that mirrors the pardokht technique of applying single dabs of paint in miniature. This method of painting with photographs has now become his trademark and has made him one of the most highly prized contemporary artists working with photography world-wide.
- Made in: Lahore
- (Asia,South Asia,Pakistan,Punjab,Lahore)
- Height: 35 centimetres (less gilt frame)
- Length: 25.5 centimetres (less gilt frame)
Rashid Rana (Lahore, 1968) is arguably one of the most successful and influential contemporary artists working in South Asia today. Trained originally as a painter at the NCA in Lahore (BFA, 1992) and at the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston (MFA, 1994), Rana was a student of Zahoor-ul-Akhlaq (the father figure of the contemporary miniature movement who set up the miniature department at the NCA as a ‘major’ in the 1980s) and has progressed Akhlaq’s own conceptual engagement with the miniature.
Rashid Rana has thus emerged as a leading figure in contemporary art from Pakistan. His art practice, which involves reworking thousands of unique images into larger tableaus produces powerful and unexpected symbols of daily life in Pakistan. Rana’s ability to identify and exploit the tensions between the whole and its parts in his pointillist photographs has become his hallmark. The artist is adept at pulling apart the world’s facades, forcing his viewers to look beyond the larger image and to the sum of its parts. In so doing, Rana reveals a litany of cultural, political and economic ills lying just beneath the surface of the carefully constructed representations we have come to accept as “reality.”
Major shows in 2010: Perpetual Paradoxes (Musee Guimet, Paris); Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh (2009 Whitechapel Gallery, London); The Empire Strikes Back: Indian Art Today (Saatchi Gallery, London)
Rashid Rana. I Love Miniatures.(2002)
This is his initial experiment with working on contrasting dimensions, described by Rana as: “ works to propose ‘parallel realities’ in order to question the optimistic premises of globalisation” With his team of assistants Rana is permanently photographing the chaotically rich tapestry of life in Lahore...”I like to hold conversations between the micro and macro aspects...in the big picture I let them see what they want to see... in the pixels I show them what I want to see”.
Corporate propaganda is decomposed into tiny dots, an ironic take on the par dokht methodology used in miniature painting and (as I state in my book) this play with reduction and escalation together with the contrast between traditional technique and hypermodern technology may well serve as irony if this is the most representative format of miniature viable in the postmodern world” as suggested by the critic Qudduz Mirza. However I reject both his and Kavita Singh’s implicit conclusions that this work is a critique by Rana of the contemporary miniature painting movement’s ‘updated traditionalism’ or ‘romanticism’ (Singh) or ‘hankering after heritage’ (Mirza)...that may be their view (which simply shows their ignorance of the content and experiment in miniature painting!) but it is not Rana’s views as he has often expressed a fascination with the traditional, as gleaned by his rapport with his mentor Zahoor and also by his own shifts in technical experiments...Rana’s performance here certainly poses important questions on issues of craft, ’authenticity’, capitalism, scale and technology but these are not easily reduced to irony..they are crucial to his development and he is only too aware of the inspiration of the miniature practice on his work.
2013 22 Jan-24 Apr, London, BM, Evening Standard - World city in 20 objects
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Object reference number: RRI43533
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