Leading Pakistani artist Rashid Rana @ Pao Galleries, Hong Kong

'Translation/Transliterations,’ a solo exhibition by Rashid Rana, Pakistan's leading contemporary artist will be held from October 21-November 18 at the Pao Galleries in Hong Kong. The show will present over 20 pieces, showing his creations across various media.

Everything and nothing

Last year , the artist held a retrospective at France’s prestigious national museum for Asian art, the Musée Guimet in Paris and in May , Rana’s monumental photomontage sculpture was featured at ART HK 11.

Books II 

Rana reconstructs traditional images that are specific to his culture, often employing familiar cultural motifs such as Persian rug patterns and burqa in his artworks.

Red Carpet
Rana is truly a cross-disciplinary artist. He has traversed different media from acrylic on canvas to performance videos. Currently, the artist creates artworks with large digital photomontages and sculptural cubes made of smaller images. These main images often resemble familiar cultural emblems such as patterns of a Persian carpet. However, in his works, Rana explores how the entirety does not always equal the sum of its parts.

Rana’s most significant body of works is widely acknowledged to be his photographic mosaic pieces, with their powerful narratives of duality and contradiction. His approach to photography is similar to that of painting, where a large image is composed of many small components. Rana’s Red Carpet series, where the larger image of a beautiful carpet is composed of micro images of an abattoir, is one
of the most startling examples.

From a distance, Red Carpet resembles a traditional Persian rug. Upon closer inspection of the composite photomontage, the viewer experiences a feeling of recoil when he or she is hit by a realization of the tiny images of the gory slaughterhouse that constitute the larger picture. One edition of Red Carpet established the highest price ever paid for a work of art by a Pakistani artist at Sotheby’s New York on 16 May, 2008.

In his photomontage What Lies Between Flesh and Blood (above), the artist collected existing images of flesh and blood and rearranged them into an abstract geometric image, in the style of a modern Abstract Expressionist painting reminiscent of Mark Rothko. He uses skin and blood as symbols to represent sex and violence, highlighting the struggle between tradition and modernity in South Asia.