Imran Qureshi’s gruesome-looking installation is much more harmless than you think

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Imran Qureshi – And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013 - Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, UAE, 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, At Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, UAE, 2014
Photo: Salsali Private Museum/salsalipm.com

Published: December 14, 2016

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Introduction

Imran Qureshi’s “And they still seek the traces of blood” (2013) has become renowned for its ability to invoke emotional responses from viewers as this intrinsic work is printed on thousands of crumpled sheets of paper and gathered to form a precipitous heap. The title of his work, “And they still seek the traces of blood quotes a poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz1 with reference to individuals who have been killed and buried without their lives honoured nor the events surrounding their deaths investigated.

Sources of inspiration

The Pakistani artist Qureshi’s work is in reference to current events in Pakistan and serves to highlight the types of violence and discrimination that is imposed upon innocent people around the world every day. Qureshi’s work is visually striking while it calls forth profound imagery of violence. The use of light and darkness in the surrounding hall makes his work emotionally charged and as described by some viewers almost brutal.

Beauty and violence

Qureshi’s exhibition uses the binary combination of light and darkness. Qureshi utilizes the color of the rooms of the nighttime landscapes of Venetian painting, often depicting landscapes and interior courtyards in which every stone and leaf is pedantically arranged; each delicate painting is tainted by the blood red stains that impinges on the picturesque scene, uncompromisingly annihilating the delicacy and balance. In doing this, Qureshi creates a space of binary elements, beauty and violence.

Analysis

Throughout these somber rooms, you have to carefully feel your way slowly and cautiously; as Qureshi’s method of presentation causes for the make references to the colonial architectures and domains in which servants were kept in small compartments. Through the surrounding darkness, the paintings burn into the viewers provoking them to reflect upon the conditions as they attempt to discover a way out of the labyrinth of depicted violence or to create a split second in which viewers can escape the perpetual succession of creation and violence.

Conclusion

Qureshi’s work reflects upon his own lived experience, expressing the memories of his living through decades of precarity, martial law, uprisings and massacres, terrorism, political. His artwork is without a doubt metaphorical expressing both life and death, darkness and light. His work is so completely profound as the metaphorical and binary nature of his work is infinite, depicting a teetering balance of beauty and life versus the dark blood red spattered imagery associated with violence and death.

Photos

Museum exhibitions

Imran Qureshi, And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, At Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University, 2014
Photo: Aaron Word/corvi-mora.com

Imran Qureshi – And They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin
Photo: Mathias Schormann/db-artmag.de

Imran Qureshi, And They Still Seek The Traces Of Blood
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, M HKA, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, Belgium

Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Paris, 2014

Imran Qureshi - And they still seek the traces of blood, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris, 2014
Photo: Virginia Whiles/cloudsandseafrance.com

Imran Qureshi - And they still seek the traces of blood, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris, 2014
Photo: Virginia Whiles/cloudsandseafrance.com

Imran Qureshi - And they still seek the traces of blood, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris, 2014
Photo: Virginia Whiles/cloudsandseafrance.com

Imran Qureshi - And they still seek the traces of blood, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris, 2014
Photo: Virginia Whiles/cloudsandseafrance.com

Imran Qureshi - And they still seek the traces of blood, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris 2014
Imran QureshiAnd They Still Seek the Traces of Blood, 2013, Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve, Nuit Blanche Paris, 2014
Photo: Virginia Whiles/cloudsandseafrance.com

All images by Imran Qureshi/ropac.net unless otherwise noted.

Video: Imran Qureshi speaks about his work

9min 20sec

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faiz_Ahmad_Faiz
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