AAN COLLECTION PRESENTS: MOMENT/MOMENTUM

AAN Collection

The AAN Collection

AAN Collection is a private collection of Asian art primarily focussed on Pakistani art. Believed to be the largest and most comprehensive collection of Pakistan visual art, the AAN collection comprises of works from the third century BC Gandhara civilisation to the most recent contemporary pieces.

The title of the collection, ‘AAN’, is derived from an Urdu word (Aan) and literally means ‘honour’ as well as ‘a moment’. The title also fits in with the acronym of the collectors names.  The word ‘AAN’ perfectly describes the spirit behind the collection, on multiple levels. The collection is an attempt to honour the rich tradition, creativity and ingenuity of Pakistani art; the collectors are honoured to be the trustees of the most comprehensive collection on Pakistani art and to show case it to the world; and above all, with contemporary art at its core, the collection is an attempt to capture the specific ‘moments’ of history these artworks (as well as the collectors) lived and existed in.

AAN Collection

What started with an impulsive purchase of an artwork in 1994 became a lifelong passion for the collectors of AAN Collection. The heart of the collection is Modern & Contemporary Art from Pakistan and is surrounded by Gandhara civilisation sculptures and old miniatures on one side and by art from the broader Asia Pacific region, on the other.

The collection includes works from 3rd century B.C. Gandhara civilisation, to Mughal miniatures, objects from Tipu Sultan period/collection, historic modernist art as well as cutting edge contemporary art from artists such as Takashi Murakami, Ju Ming, Shahzia Sikandar and Imran Qureshi.  There are sculptures, works on paper and canvas, photographic works, video installations, light boxes and other new media works. The largest work is Desperately Seeking Paradise by Rashid Rana which is sculpture which is over ten feet in height and the smallest are miniatures in a circular form by Ahsan Jamal which are three inches in diameter. The collection has over 700 works of art. We collect together.  As the collectors remark, “What makes it such a unique as well as robust collection is that the works have been collected because we loved them and with a vision to capture the art of those before us as well as our contemporaries. A snapshot of the time we exist in”.

The collection has been extensively shared with a broader audience through extensive lending of its works to museums, public and private exhibitions/projects as well as through published images in several books and international media. Works from the collection have been lent to major institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, Asia Society Museum New York, The Sharjah Biennial, The Venice Biennial, The Singapore Art Museum and the Mohatta Palace Museum Karachi amongst others.

Moment/Momentum – Contemporary Art from Pakistan

This exhibition focuses on the works of Zahoor-Ul-Akhlaque and the Contemporary Artists who followed his lead. Especially since this is the first curated exhibition and would be a glimpse into this collection and the contemporary artworks that sit within its core and embody the ‘AAN’ or the ‘moment’. All the works in the first exhibition are juxtaposed to form connections amongst their narratives.

Untitled Painting by Zahoor Ul Akhlaque

This painting is derived from the Mughal miniature ‘Three Younger Sons of Shah Jahan by Balchand’.  This diptych was added to the collection both for being a critical work from Zahoor-Ul-Akhlaque as well as its context within the Pakistani contemporary art movement both miniature and otherwise. 

Akhlaque’s influence set the tone for the experimentation for the contemporary artists who followed in his wake.  This is a large scale iteration of Balchand’s renowned depiction of Shah Jahan’s youngest sons, the historical references are quiet pertinent yet the work is modernist with a strong abstract element.

This work can somewhat connect to Imran Qureshi’s Moderate Enlightenment series, though with Akhlaque the figures are historical while the treatment is modern while in Qureshi’s case the figure is contemporary while the treatment is traditional.

Exhibitions: This work was shown at the Beyond the Page Exhibition at The Manchester Art Gallery, 2006.

Published:  Beyond the Page, Manchester Art Gallery the accompanying Catalogue in 2006.

One Night By Zahoor Ul Akhlaque

This painting is also a derivation of an evening scene from a Mughal miniature painting with a Jadwal (border) clearly marked. This scene of a couple in repose and the surroundings in the evening or night were depicted in both Mughal as well as in Rajput miniatures. The Estate of Zahoor Ul Akhalque refers to this painting as ‘One Night’.

Moderate Enlightenment by Imran Qureshi

This work is another nod to the miniature though unlike the Akhlaque work, the subject is contemporary while the treatment is traditional including the size, the border and the rendering of the painting. Imran Qureshi is one of the leading voices of contemporary miniature painting from Pakistan. 

Qureshi’s ‘Moderate Enlightenment’ series is a nod to the figurative painting of the Mughal era. Bearded men, at work and play holding umbrellas, blowing bubbles and chasing after dragonflies are a complete departure from their usual depiction. One of Imran Qureshi’s most important works and this painting has been extensively exhibited and published and was lately exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This work can form a connection with both of Faiza Butt’s works in this exhibition.

Exhibitions: This work is a miniature and has been shown at The Venice Biennale in 2009, The Sharjah Art Museum at the Sharjah Biennial, 2011 and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 2013.

Published: The Sharjah Biennial Publication in 2009, Catalogue accompanying the Rooftop Commission at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2013, Imran Qureshi – The Monograph in 2013, The God of Small Things Catalogue accompanying the Exhibition in 2014,

Imran Qureshi’s Artist Book Siret e Mustaqeem in 2009 (Published by Raking Leaves).

You Who Are My Love and My Life’s Enemy Too by Imran Qureshi

One of Imran Qureshi’s large scale works. This series was initiated by Qureshi after a terror attack at a marketplace near his home in Lahore, Pakistan. The images of blood on the electronic media, post the attack was the genesis of this scarlet hued painting. His earlier abstract work had been deeply meditative with the gestural action of leakage and seepage. After this event, Qureshi used violent gestural abstraction in layers to create blood like marks on paper. If one observes closely, miniature imagery is also apparent within this work as elaborate foliate patterns from historic Basholi and Kangra miniature paintings. 

Qureshi is equally comfortable with his forays into abstract expressionism while creating his large-scale installations as well as large scale paintings such as these, where foliate patterns are created using the gestural flow of action painting. The foliate vocabulary emerging from the blood-like marks are symbols of hope in Qureshi’s own words. This seminal work lead to the creation of the installation 'Blessings upon the Land of My Love’. Qureshi was awarded the Jury Prize for this work at The Sharjah Biennial in 2011. Qureshi is still exploring these themes in his new works and his installations to date.

Awards: This is a large scale work which was a finalist for the Signature Art Prize in Singapore in 2010.

Exhibitions: The Rising Tide Exhibition at the Mohatta Palace Museum in 2009 and the Signature Art Prize Exhibition in Singapore in 2010.

Published: Imran Qureshi, The Monograph in 2013, The Rising Tide Exhibition Catalogue in 2009 and The Signature Art Prize Catalogue, published by the Singapore Art Museum in 2010.

Portraits I  by Imran Qureshi  

Imran Qureshi’s foliate vocabulary in intense scarlet and lapis lazuli blue dominates the sumptuousness of the gold. The deconstruction and the misalignment of the frames created disturbing imagery. In this piece, the gold background has been frantically slashed. 

These bloodied cuts are left open to bleed over the paper, while others have been sutured to seal the flow. The abstraction in these works is what makes Contemporary Miniature from Pakistan such a critical stream on Pakistani Art.

Exhibition: The Experimental Gallery, Hong Kong Art Centre in 2007, Hong Kong University Museum Art Gallery in  2009, Govett-Brewster Museum, New Zealand in 2012, Broad Art Museum, Michigan, US in 2104

Published: Portraits & Vortexes in  2007, Outside In the Catalogue for HK University Museum Art Gallery in 2009, Imran Qureshi-The Monograph in 2013, ‘God of Small Things Catalogue’ at the Broad Art Museum in 2014.

Portraits 8 by Imran Qureshi  

Imran Qureshi’s foliate vocabulary in intense scarlet and lapis lazuli blue dominates the sumptuousness of the gold. The deconstruction and the misalignment of the frames created disturbing imagery. In most of the pieces, the gold background has been frantically slashed. 

These bloodied cuts are left open to bleed over the paper, while others have been sutured to seal the flow. The abstraction in these works is what makes Contemporary Miniature from Pakistan such a critical stream on Pakistani Art.

Exhibition: The Experimental Gallery, Hong Kong Art Centre in 2007, Hong Kong University Museum Art Gallery in 2009, Govett-Brewster Museum, New Zealand in 2012, Broad Art Museum, Michigan in US in  2104.

Published: Portraits & Vortexes, 2007, Outside in the Catalogue for HK University Museum Art Gallery in 2009, Imran Qureshi-The Monograph, 2013, ‘God of Small Things Catalogue’ at the Broad Art Museum in 2014.

Desperately Seeking Paradise by Rashid Rana

A seminal work by Rashid Rana and a number of equally important works have emerged from this particular artwork. A large-scale yet meditative sculpture which needs to be explored as the viewer walks around it. This work also beckons the viewer to imagine it from two distinct perspectives. The viewer has to observe the work from afar, but then has to move closer to enjoy and understand this work in depth. 

The cube appears like a chunk of glass fronted high rise building in any modern city. When the viewer observes it from one perspective, he sees a landscape of tall buildings but upon closer inspection, the larger image is composed of smaller images of small and ordinary houses in the historical city of Lahore. This work explores the themes of immigration, nostalgia, displacement and inherent desire to reach for success.

Exhibition : Desperately Seeking Paradise, Project at Art Dubai, 2008, Asian Art Biennial Taiwan, 2009,  Rashid Rana So Exhibition at the Musee Guimet  Paris, 2010, The Rising Tide at the Mohatta Palace Museum Catalogue, 2010,  Special Project Art HK, 2011Art Stage Singapore at the Singapore Art Museum, 2012, Labyrinth Of Reflections at the Mohatta Palace Museum in 2013.

Published: Asian Art Biennial Catalogue, 2009, Rashid Rana the Monograph, 2010, The Rising Tide at The Mohatta Palace Museum Catalogue, 2010 The Labyrinth Of Reflections-The Monograph, 2013

Everything and Nothing by Rashid Rana

This work brings together two objects which usually co-exist in tandem and these are literature and art. Rashid Rana literally created these book shelves with images of hundreds of Renaissance paintings. 

There are themes of scholarship, art in its historical context, contemporary art and technology as it exists in this current environment within this singular work.

Exhibition: Translation/Transliteration Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Art Centre, 2011, Art Basel Miami, 2011, Labyrinth of Reflections, 2103

Published: Translation/Transliteration Catalogue, 2011, Labyrinth of Reflections, 2103

Re-Ornamented by Rashid Rana

This is another work by Rashid Rana where the city of Lahore takes centre stage. It is an image of the tomb of the Emperor Jahangir and is composed of smaller images of an ordinary utilitarian objects in this case mobile phone cards. 

Similar to the earlier works the juxtaposition of a Mughal monument with mundane consumer items is a comment on the historical city of Lahore as it becomes engulfed with urbanisation.

Images of text on the Mobile phone cards can play with the notion of language such as Shahzia Sikandar’s Captivity.

Visible/Invisible by Aisha Khalid

This is an early work by Aisha Khalid and one of the most appealing aspects of this work is that she uses an object that holds special significance for her personally. She uses embellished gold-worked decorations from her father’s wedding garland as elements in this artwork as well as creating a miniature painting. 

The miniature painting at the centre of this triptych uses the geometric elements and the image of the veil or the curtain which continues to appear in her work to this day. While the decorations from the wedding garland sit on velvet on both sides of the painting.

Exhibitions: Ornament at the Belvedere Museum, Vienna, 2007

Published: Aisha Khalid, 2001-2002, Catalogue for Ornament at the Belvedere Museum, Vienna, 2007

 

Appear As You Are, Be As You Appear by Aisha Khalid

This is a textile based work which is a critical part of Aisha Khalid’s artistic practice. She uses items used for embellishment and decoration making use of the sumptuousness, of velvet, silk and gold. But this is where beauty appears side by side with discomfort as all of these works are created using pins & needles. 

Larger works in this series have graced museums such as the Shawl at the Sharjah Biennial, and the Carpet at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. Khalid plays with the notion of beauty and discomfort. On first glance the work appears like an exquisite gold worked embroidery purse but on closer inspection reveals itself to be composed of the ferocity of sharp needles and pins.

Larger Than Life- By Aisha Khalid

The veil or the curtain has always been present in Aisha Khalid’s work from its Inception. The burka clad mysterious figure was always enclosed inside the jadwal(border) of the miniature painting in Khalid’s works. These paintings were like jewels. 

In this painting though the veil seems to cloak the ideal beauty or truth as referenced in Victorian poetry as well as Urdu poetry which is the ultimate truth concealed behind a veil. This form could be the allusion to the beloved or the divine and is truly larger than life and rendered on a large-scale scarlet Wasli(Hand-prepared paper). This was the first time that Aisha Khalid rendered the Burqa or the Veil in such proportions. This is a seminal work as well and has led to a whole series of large-scale veil or Burqas.

The Spine by Naiza Khan as well as Aisha Khalid’s Larger Than Life both play with the notion of a woman’s consciousness in terms of these vestments.

Exhibited: Art HK, 2009

Published: Larger Than Life, Published by Manchester Art Gallery, 2012

Captivity by Shahzia Sikandar

This work by Shahzia Sikandar is a large scale work which uses the elements of Urdu Calligraphy in its imagery. 

Shahzia breaks and disrupts the flow of Urdu calligraphy in the form of an Urdu Ghazal(Urdu romantic poetry) by the renowned South Asian Urdu poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib and uses fragments and elements of words to create this large-scale work abstractive painting which plays with the notion of text, calligraphy, language and scholarship.

Spine by Naiza Khan

This work is from Naiza Khan’s series ‘Iron Clouds’ which plays with the notion of the female form and armour. Khan’s works deal with both the strength and fragility of a woman’s consciousness as well as its form. She plays with the notions of form and space as these works are sculptural. 

Spine was inspired by a vintage costume which had belonged to her friend’s grandmother. She used the inherent beauty of the ‘choli’(bodice/blouse) to create armour encased in scarlet suede. Larger than Life’ and ‘Spine’ both works chosen for this exhibition, reveal the exploration of the female form by both Aisha Khalid and Naiza Khan.

Exhibited:  Iron Clouds Rohtas Gallery I & II, 2008, The Skin She Wears, 2008, Hanging Fire- Asia Society Museum NY 2009, Svelando l'Utopia, Italy 2010 

Published: Hanging Fire Catalogue, Asia Society Museum  NYC 2009, Naiza Khan: Works 1987-2013, The Broad Museum Publication, 2012

Armour Lingerie by Naiza Khan

This work is also from the ‘Iron Clouds’ series and this piece almost looks like an armour sculpted on the body and again explores the dialogue between fragility and strength. The AAN Collection has two of these armours in their collection.

Exhibited : Desperately Seeking Paradise, Special Project, ART Dubai 2008 & Iron Clouds Exhibition, Lahore 2008, Donna Biennial Art: Decoding Violence, PAC Museum Italy, 2012

Bulletproof Vest by Naiza Khan

A drawing in charcoal from this series and even more potent as the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto used to wear a bulletproof vest, but her fragility was manipulated even as she had donned the armour.

Exhibited: Iron Clouds, Rohtas II, Lahore, 2008

Published: Iron Clouds, 2008 & Naiza Khan: Works 1987-2013, The Broad Museum Publication, 2012

Placebo for My Warrior by Faiza Butt

The one eyed warrior dreaming of feasting. Is he a warrior or a man but with his henna dyed moustache who is metrosexual and comfortable in his own skin. 

Even with all his fashion, will he still be deemed a warrior because of the way he looks even though he tries to manifests another form for himself? This particular work by Faiza Butt engages with Imran Qureshi’s ‘Moderate Enlightenment Series in this exhibition.

Exhibited: The Rising Tide Exhibition at the Mohatta Palace Museum in 2010

Published: Catalogue Accompanying the Rising Tide Exhibition in 2010

Get Out of My Dreams by Faiza Butt

(Similar work was exhibited at The Hanging Fire Exhibition at the Asia Society Museum, New York in 2009). These two men holding hands amidst consumer laden background is homage to the world’s obsession with consumerism. 

Again placing two traditionally garbed guys holding hands, Butt is breaking the stereotypical depiction of bearded men and the illusion that their only concern is war. Here these two beautiful gentlemen are as far from war as one can be.

Awards: Finalist for the Sovereign Art Prize Hong Kong in 2009

Exhibited: Sovereign Art Exhibition Hong Kong in 2009

Credits: Story

The Artist and AAN Collection —

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile