Tuesday, December 10, 2019
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Photos that hone the sixth sense

Iqra Tanveer is interested in exploring the way we perceive illusion and reality. She does this by presenting everyday objects and sights in ways that make them appear quite different. In her latest show, “Light of a Distant Day”, the Pakistani artist plays with light in different ways to compel viewers to go beyond the limitations of their sensory experiences, and to question their perception and understanding of their surroundings.

“I want to examine what the term ‘illusion’ means to us and what is the reality of ‘reality’, and how the two sometimes appear to be the same. My work is about capturing the ephemeral that appears to be illusion, seeing the unseen and experiencing the mundane in new ways. I am interested in studying how light works in our environment and affects our perception. The common thread that runs through all the works in this show is the ambiguity between what you see and what you experience. There is an element of representation, where you know what the object or visual you are seeing is, but at the same time your experience of it is quite different from what you expect,” Tanveer says.

In a series of intriguing photographs, the artist decontextualises everyday objects and sights to create visuals that tread the fine line between myth and reality. In “Sky Patch”, the image that triggered this series, the clouds are barely visible, making viewers wonder if what they are looking at is indeed the sky, and playing with the idea of being visible and invisible at the same time. In “Eclipse”, the shadow cast by a ray of sunlight on a wall looks like a solar eclipse in the sky. And in “Instant Distance” the photograph of a landscape has been turned upside down, toying with the viewers’ perception of the streak of shimmering water, the stretch of sky below and the land above.

The usually unseen lights and rough surface of billboards behind the colourful hoardings found in every city are the focus in “Now you see it” and “Enlightenment”, making viewers think about a common sight in a different way. And in a set of underexposed images taken on a dark night, titled “Illuminations”, the reality of the invisible buildings is constructed in the minds of viewers only through the array of shining lights within. The ambiguous, undefined feeling of this pictures is enhanced by the fact that the artworks are inkjet prints on cotton rag paper, and presented on clips without frames or mounts.

Tanveer’s site-specific installation “Doubt in the Definite” underlines the theme of this show. Composed of 18 tube-lights arranged in a linear pattern, but with some interventions in the linearity, it conveys the intention and effort to create ambiguity in what is usually perceived as a definite reality. Similarly, her video, “The Transit” is a poetic study of the headlights of unseen vehicles passing by on a busy road at night. “The duality between what we experience through our senses and how we perceive things mentally and emotionally highlights our sensory limitations in experiencing and understanding the reality of the world at large,” the artist says.

The show will run until February 28.

Jyoti Kalsi is an arts enthusiast based in Dubai.

“Light of a Distant Day” will run at Grey Noise gallery until February 27.

Vibrant chromatic rhythms

Arteberry is showcasing the latest work of Angela Zaffari at the B&B Italia showroom, on Jumeirah Beach road. The Brazilian artist claims that her aim is not to express her feelings, but rather to create a chromatic rhythm through her colourful, geometric, abstract paintings. “I began by painting landscapes in an abstract form, which led to experiments with parallel lines. In my latest work the horizontal and vertical parallel lines have met to create square spaces filled with colours that express energy, vibration, life and rhythm,” Zaffari says.

A visual language in the making

Nasser Al Aswadi’s first solo show in the UAE features calligraphic paintings in his unique style. The Yemeni artist, who divides his time between Sana’a and Marseille (France), expresses his thoughts and feelings through interesting arrangements of calligraphic letters and words. The twisted, swirling letters on his canvases tell stories about his culture, and evoke the landscapes of the small village of Hojar, where he was born, and of Sana’a, where he studied architecture.

His latest work is inspired by the uprisings of the Arab Spring. The letters and words tangled together in different shapes or arranged in concentric circles and linear patterns refer to the crowds of protesters and the change in the daily realities of life after the revolution. “Writing is at the heart of my work, and my purpose is to transcend mere terminology and communicate through a visual language that is universally understood. Calligraphy is the core of my work, but my work is inspired by everyday events. My aim is to use the power of words and light to transform the mundane into something magical,” the artist says.

The show will run at JAMM art gallery, Al Quoz, until March 13.