The exhibition I AM AND I AM NOT
consists of various paintings, a diptych in book form as well as a site-specific installation. Strongly influenced by the figurative miniature tradition of the Mughal Empire, the Pakistani-born artist Khalid, takes the tradition one step further and contemplates on contemporary issues such as the female figure, or say, the global politics and the uncertainty surrounding us, as apparent in her previous works.
Khalid’s radical-yet-subtle criticism represents itself in the use of abstraction. Furthermore, the artist invites us to re-think certain problems from a non-European perspective; what looks out of focus might refer to the precariousness of our era. The renowned motifs of miniatures, such as the Mughal flower tulip of When I Am Silent (2017), are freed from their traditional meanings and become protagonists of contemporary issues. Curvilinear lines reminiscent of curtains—a recurring image in Khalid’s oeuvre—refers to a metaphor of the dichotomy of public and private, the veil or borders. If you look under the hood, something is uncanny in the paintings I Am and I Am Not (2017) or At the Circle’s Centre (2017); the circles might be alluding to, well, bullet holes.
Larger than Life (2017), a site-specific installation with video and embroidery, hinges on the problematics of political empowerment and the (im)balance of power. Unfinished hand-made embroidered flowers on the wall, in contrast to the almost violent speed of the embroidery machine in the video, draw attention to the inequality in the society.