Look, Look Again under way
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By Peerzada Salman | 5/24/2018 12:00:00 AM
KARACHI: An exhibition of Hasnat Mahmood`s artworks titled Look, Look Again opened at the Koel Gallery on Tuesday.

The title of the show is interesting for at least a couple of reasons. One, it invites the viewer to not just visit a variety of exhibits on display but revisit them -revisiting implies an attempt at reconsidering ideas; two, it signifies an emphasis on understanding the past, to 1001( back, the yearning to return to a place from where we benefited a lot but don`t tend to recognise it.

Then there`s another element to the exhibition mentioned in the curatorial note of the show: to make the artist`s `audience experience the control and exploitation the art establishment has undertaken`. What is that art establishment? It`s a difficult question to answer because the term has been used in a broader context.

Mahmood is a trained miniaturist.

But to get his message across, he has worke d in different media, including aninteractive one. It would be unjust, though, not to mention the work that he`s done in graphite. The Harappa Figurines, for example, made in graphite are pretty special to look, and relook, at. The detailing, the contours of the figures and the playfulness that the artist has managed to capture are pretty intriguing. Where does the important factor of the `art establishment` come in? Well, it is hinted in pieces such as the ones that mention `National Museum New Delhi` on one end of the bottom of the artworks` frames and `Made in Pakistan` on the other. This is a reference to how art is made to be understood in a certain way, whereas it is something that requires an organic, unsullie d understanding.

In another piece, Mahmood brings in, within the artwork, the name of Clement Greenberg who was instrumental in promoting the American painter Jackson Pollock. The idea is to tell the viewer that the appreciation of art is an unforced process, and any effort to make it otherwise befuddles, or can befuddle, the viewer`s mind.

The exhibition concludes on May 31.