ISLAMABAD: Fascinating works that merge the present with the past while maintaining a balance between modernity and tradition were exhibited in the Khaas Gallery.
The title of the exhibition is “Commixture”. The Austrian-born artist Ursula Kiesling tried to reinterpret miniature painting, so to speak, and to create an alternative technique; for example, she used English at the borders instead of the previous language.
The works illustrate how people remain trapped in the same pattern as history repeats itself, and how every generation faces the same problems with it.
Ms. Kiesling staged several different dramas and storylines on the same platform, with the potential to overlap and contribute to a larger narrative; fictional scenes like headlines are interspersed with larger-than-life dramas, but like all art, her images are an imitation of reality.
The artist tried to reveal to the viewer the idea of life in abundance: chaotic, rich, complex and turbulent. The world represented in her works seems to be a mixture of passions, hopes and motivations, in which contrasting moods such as joy and tragedy run side by side.
Ms. Kiesling used a light and radiant color palette to show rather uncomfortable scenes. To add her own touch to the work, she used watercolors while setting aside the traditional gouache-on-wasli method.
Some of the works show the splendor of the marriage ceremonies in the country and how people are still obsessed with them. In doing so, Ms. Kiesling offered visitors access to her own thoughts and the lens through which she viewed Pakistani society.
“This is a collection of stories dealing with dilemmas of our contemporary life in Pakistan. The way these stories are presented reflects a playground to explore the relationship between epic drama, as known from mythology, and traditional visual storytelling from the Mughal era.
“When I came to Pakistan as a European ex-pat, I found myself primarily in a certain form of exchange within a certain framework and certain social conditions. In the awareness of this exchange, I cannot avoid my artistic activity being multidimensional. I have been fortunate to be invited to several Pakistani weddings. The traditions of these weddings go back a long way and are linked to the customs and culture of the Indian subcontinent, ”said the artist on the opening day.
Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2021