Pedantic rows nuanced with heterogeneous capacities; a circus of a thousand stagnant bodies unswayed by the wind; the expanse of the city set a against the horizon with appearing homogeneity. The city, whilst opaque is draped with a translucence of sorts. Beneath the pedantic charisma of the sprawling urban expanse lay the dwellings of men. The unique relationship of man and his neighbor ; an alluring juxtaposition if the walls were dissected. Cities when vanquished of it’s dwellers recedes into a stale pretense of a facade. Beneath the walls the dwellers are connected with an array of pipelines and wires that power the city; our clutter collects within the systematic modernity of urban dwellings.The roads chiseled to carve routes. A city when viewed from above, reduces itself to aesthetics. A throbbing ache for vertical and horizontal propensities bespoken with modest appearances. Anum Jamal’s recent display of works at the Koel Gallery is a monologue to the virtues of concrete and the visceral tendencies of everything that isn’t concrete.
Jamal ingeniously converges her inquisitions into the nature and aesthetics of urban dwellings by visually drawing a parallel with QR codes. Much like the city when viewed from above its appears as a labyrinth. The inorganic crevices of the city when looked down upon inconspicuously seal the organic nature of city life. She reasons with her audience by saying she doesn’t view a simple apartment building as a monolithic structure, but rather a more anatomical view where it mere serves as a vessel for the living. She understands the density of the city as a fleshy breathing mass.
Channeled within the QR codes, she places fragments of her memories and routes. A placid reminder of the agile nature of the city, ravenous as it inhales and exhales communally, set within the symmetry. Her works run fluid with a tactility as she places organic forms within the inorganic construct. One finds comfort in the familiarity of the forms yet is probed to question the nature of perspective in itself. Beneath the staggering complexes, behind the opaque concrete veils, between the monolithic structures, one finds a shrine to civilization itself. Jamals works reconciles the very nature of routes and roots. In Concrete Garden 1, she fragments the city into monolithic strips, and sets a flowering plant with the imposing nature of the piece itself. A profound reasoning that collects the incongruous possibilities of looking at city life and it’s construct.
Jamals works flows into one piece of work into another, it recedes, it extends, it expands, much like the metaphor it serves to allude it becomes the city. Her mature inquisitions are further gratified by her technical prowess. Her command over the medium, used strategically to give tactility to her works. The use of color, allowing it to protrude from the monotone palette leaves the work with a more nuanced expression. A calibrated act of working within mediums to orchestrate a grand affair of visceral pursuits.
A array of shapes, edged and set in cement; her works seek to replicate the nature of the symmetry we reside in, yet she leaves the edges brittle through introduction of organic forms and color, she pulsates her city. When viewed from above the city might forsake the inclusion of humanity, however as we further descend the lamenting walls and the carpeted stone on roads sprite with the souls of it’s dwellers. As intended, setting her city into QR codes forms a visual aesthetics of the city when viewed from above, it calcifies the information within a set pattern. However she manages to successfully breathe into her forms as they grow listless. A concrete structure may not sway but the petals of a flower swing in delight of the wind. Her work captures the capricious nature of cities.
A map does not betray the pandemonium of smells and sounds that leave the air of the city dense with occupancy. Jamal’s approach to her work, and her insight into the nature of cities as a crucible allows her work to translate with a reckoning. In her piece titled You Are Here she draws on the very idea of looking into a map, she breaks the symmetry with a flower. A valiant juxtaposition. It tranquilizes the rigidity with a lulling consort.
The city despite it’s unyielding facade, it is fragile. It is an ever-expanding tapestry of the souls it holds, Jamal’s works pay homage to the tactility of the city. Her understanding of aesthetics and allowing it to converse with her concept, she has immaculately crafted the city with great finesse. Her works reconcile with the apathy of concrete, it shatters the nonchalance of dormant mapping; it allows the placid state of concrete to run with a seamless thread of agility. Simply visually tracing the color red within the space of the gallery itself, one finds the works to be suggestively fluid. Jamal’s work leaves the viewer with a pair of quivering wings set on top the words “Going Home”, yearning to rediscover our own dwellings.