Love’s Assassin Wore Sports Socks

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Love’s Assassin Wore Sports Socks

The Sacred and Beyond. The exhibition titled Sacred and Beyond is one of the rare instances of a show in which each artist says what she means and

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The Sacred and Beyond.

The exhibition titled Sacred and Beyond is one of the rare instances of a show in which each artist says what she means and means what she says. The commitment to, and the capacity for, artisanship is remarkable, evident also in the crafting of the performativity of art, never an easy task to take on in interdisciplinary art. As Paul Ricouer writes: 

The  distinction  between  sense  and  reference  is  a  necessary  and  pervasive  characteristic  of  discourse,  and  collides  head-on  with  the  axiom of  the  immanence  of  language.  There  is  no  reference  problem  in  language:  signs  refer  to  other  signs  within  the  same  system.  In  the  phenomenon  of  the  sentence,  language  passes  outside  itself;  reference  is the  mark  of  the  self-transcendence  of  language {Paul Ricoeur: The  Rule  of  Metaphor (The  creation  of  meaning  in  language.)} 

Encountered in the foyer of the gallery, Sehrish Willayat’s ‘Dancing Soul’ combinatoire spikes levels of expectations in the best way possible, priming them for things to come. Salvador Dali would have been intrigued, perhaps even envious, himself being the creator of ‘Christ Hypercubicus’. Willayat’s work, in general, is a late development of the neo-Gothic genre in Pakistan, truly accomplished in it’s Renaissance-like combination of craft and artistry. There are both an inherent, infallible centering on the powers of love and an agile insouciance functioning as the indexical of that which motivates her aesthetics. And there is in her ouevre, a secondary but equally propulsive, operative understanding of the principles of proportionality and symmetry as practiced in architecture – secretly embedded therein, all the more compelling for their quiet and utterly sincere deployment. 

The second work that  proceeds to maintain the level of discourse is Maheen Niazi’s installation of linked plastic skull-caps. Deceptive in terms of the labor involved in achieving an appearance of dichotomous floating and hanging, the assemblage is a sure utterance of the artist’s concerns with the dangers of mindless repetition and unquestioning culthood, a concern which automatically triggers a visceral response (given our sociopolitical conditions). Niazi articulates these concerns with great clarity in conversation, an exactness that aids correct interpretation. Niazi manages to imbue her work with a willingness to manufacture the type of dimensionality much sought after by practitioners of interdisciplinary art. 

Not just a few visitors were curious about the Beyond of the title of the exhibition, and indeed the answer to the questions lay in Sunaina Talreja’s installation and performance art. This artist centers her work on the eventful moment, as it were, most demonstrably on the qualities of sacred spaces, an ethos which could be said to be a gentle aesthetic of well-formed sentences of hearing, seeing and being. In this instance, the Beyond in mention manifests itself in Talreja’s invitation to participate in the lived moment. 

Love’s Assassin Wore Sports Socks. Synchronous with the invitation to let loose one’s powers of observation, the Beyond that Talreja spoke of was pure psychological Anaclisis – the deeply set function of human communal behavior, the very foundations that eventually dictate and contribute to the formation of civilizations themselves. This writer would not hesitate to say that, given the symbolism of roses, scissors, knives and hammers, it wouldn’t take long to decode the performance; one might know what the destination could be, but there were other textualities written into the interstices of the performance – right at it’s inception, the hushed ambiance created by calmly picking the roses from the walls, each gesture considered and executed with due care, brought into sight the pattern in which the roses were in fact stuck on the walls. As it began to dawn on the viewer that all this is a direct involvement with the chronological aspects of performance, the risk factor surfaced – one’s patience was being tested, did one have the ability to see this through? At one level, a reward for doing so turned out to be the opportunity given to commemorate theatrical, cinematic and experiential spaces. 

It was in the completion of the performance, I would say, that Talreja put her own question to the visitor: do you have the ability to respond with grace and absolute care in the presence of that which you’d say is sacred, if the doubly-sacred is the human bond itself? Or would you end up picking it apart, cutting it to shreds, chopping, slicing and dicing it, shoving it aside, then finish by pulverizing it for good measure? 

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