Born in Hyderabad, Pakistan, in 1972, Imran Qureshi is considered one of the leading figures in developing a contemporary aesthetic that integrates twenty-first-century themes with the motifs and techniques of miniature painting, a practice that flourished in the Mughal courts of the Indian subcontinent in the late sixteenth century. In 2011 Qureshi rose to international prominence with a major installation at the Sharjah Biennial in which he translated this traditional mode of making into a large, architecturally scaled and site-specific installation.
For his project at the MSU Broad Qureshi extends his practice by creating an indoor installation—his first in an American art museum. Forms and images appropriated from his earlier work are printed on thousands of sheets of paper that are then crumpled and gathered to form a site-specific mountain that fills the space of a thirty-foot-high gallery. As viewers walk around the immense structure they discover that this mountain has been sliced along a sharp angle following the gallery’s wall to create an intimate, tunnel-like space. This duality between grand and intimate scale is present throughout the exhibition, emphasized by Qureshi’s pairing of a commissioned miniature painting with the massive installation. The installation also includes a series of red and gold paintings presented in tandem with never-before-seen video works that give viewers insight into the slow, careful, and meditative process of making that the artist employs.
Imran Qureshi: The God of Small Things is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University and curated by Alison Gass, Deputy Director and Curator of Contemporary Art. Support for this exhibition is provided by the MSU Broad’s general exhibitions fund.