News Archive Video -- Still of Dead Birds Flying

Today, every image and idea (whether ancient or contemporary and media generated) encompasses its opposite within itself. Thus we live in a state of duality. The perpetual paradox, which reins in the outside world, is a feature for the internal self also. Thus all our moves are made not in one upward direction, but in two opposite ones -- simultaneously. This internal conflict, which translates formally into my work through mirror images, symmetry, and the grid/matrix, underlies and pervades nearly every topic I choose to explore. (Artist Statement, Hanging Fire; Contemporary Art from Pakistant, New York, 2009, p. 118)

Rashid Rana's practice typically compiles mosaics of microphotographs, creating paradoxical juxtapositions of contrasting realities. Rana engenders a conceptual duality and a 'double take' where the whole is contradicted and deceived by its constituent parts and in so doing reveal multiple world views both formally and conceptually.

A student of Zahoor ul Akhlaq, Rana continues the tradition of crisscrossing visual and philosophical ideas into his practice. Both artists reject convenient visual compromises. This example from the series, Dead Birds Flying serves as a highly accomplished example of Rana's continuing emphasis on this dialectical digital vernacular. Dead-Bird Flying, a self-contradictory phrase exemplifies the multiple dichotomies within a single image. On a micro scale - a series of photographs of caged birds form the macro image, suggesting a bird in flight - questioning the notion of freedom and the illusion of being free.

Rana has consistently enjoyed international exposure and has participated in several exhibtions with leading international institutions including: Mus�e Guimet, Paris (2010), Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena (2010) and Asia Society, New York (2009). In 2011-2012, his first U.K. solo show, Rashid Rana: Everything is Happening at Once was included in the Asia Triennial at the Cornerhouse, Manchester and subsequently at the New Art Exchange, Nottingham. His mid-career retrospective is currently on view at the Mohatta Palace, Karachi. Another work from this edition is being exhibited in this show.

New Delhi, Nature Morte, Reflected Looking, 2007

London and New York, Phillips de Pury & Company and Nature Morte, The Audience and the Evesdropper: New Art from India & Pakistan, November - December 2008, January - February 2009

Karachi, Mohatta Palace, Labyrinth of Reflections: The Art of Rashid Rana 1992-2012, A Mid-Career Retrospective, 2013 (another from the edition)

The Audience and the Evesdropper: New Art from India & Pakistan, exhibition catalogue, London, 2008 (illustrated, unpaginated)

About Rashid Rana

In his sculptures, installations, and photographs, Lahore-based artist Rashid Rana explores the impact of globalization and media on South Asian life and identity. Rana's large-scale photographs, which he describes as "unpacked abstraction," appear as non-representative, geometric compositions from afar but up close, they are revealed to comprise thousands of content-specific images. Similarly playing with the relationship between part and whole, semblance and reality, the artist's "Books" sculptures use pixelated prints on aluminum blocks to generate what looks like stacks of books.

Pakistani, b. 1968, Lahore, Pakistan, based in Lahore, Pakistan

Group Shows on Artsy

2016
Odyssey: Navigating Nameless Seas, Singapore Art Museum (SAM), Singapore
2015
My East is Your West, The Gujral Foundation, Venice
2013
South Asian Contemporary + Modern, Christie's South Asian + Chinese