EXHIBITION: Rashid Rana, Paradoxes Perpétuels
DATES: July 6 – November 15, 2010
VENUE: Musée Guimet
This July, for their first-ever exhibition of contemporary art, the Musée Guimet in Paris will present Paradoxes Perpétuels (Perpetual Paradoxes): a mid-career retrospective of Rashid Rana, and the first ever exhibition of a Pakistani artist in Paris.
Born in 1968 in Lahore, Rashid Rana is Pakistan’s leading contemporary visual artist. Though best known for his photography and digital imagery, Rana also works in sculpture and video. This exhibition will present over thirty works covering his entire oeuvre, and will be integrated amongst two floors of the museum’s permanent collection.
Having originally studied as a painter, Rana only recently began to explore new media, inspired by cinema and popular culture. His approach to photography is the same as that of making a painting: the constructing of a final image from the conglomeration of many smaller details (that function as would pixels in a digital image). The finished works carry a tension that is born from the clash between the view of the whole and that of its accumulated parts, and yet by juxtaposing the ‘seen’ and the ‘not seen’ in this way, Rana’s work underlines the antagonisms that are played out between different readings and understandings of East versus West, questions traditions in both regions and points a finger at those that create the ‘rules’ that become the traditions of tomorrow. For example, the exhibition will include one of Rana’s first digital prints, I Love Miniatures, a historic Mughal portrait that is composed from a multitude of tiny images of commercial billboard adverts. Also included in this exhibition is an example from his now famous (and perhaps most subversive) Veil series, where an overall image of a burkha-clad woman is composed from a multitude of details of pornographic scenes, indicating much to how the East exists in the mind of the West: as an oppressive religious environment for women, in addition to being a haven for erotic possibilities.
The opening of Paradoxes Perpétuels will coincide with the exhibition of the art of Gandhara, an ancient kingdom that covered today’s region of northern and eastern Pakistan and that lasted from the early 1st millennium BCE to the 11th century CE. As such, visitors will be able to see art from Pakistan spanning a period of from the 1st millennium BCE to 2010.
This exhibition marks the Musée Guimet’s first steps towards exhibiting contemporary art, and has beenmade possible thanks to the vision and efforts of Mr Jacques Gies, President of the Musee Guimet;Caroline Arhuero, Project Manager for Contemporary Art and Head of the Exhibition Department andMuseology, and guest curators Arianne Levene and Eglantine de Ganay, working under the banner ofA&E Projects.Renowned in South Asia, Rashid Rana’s works are included in a number of private and public collectionsin Europe and the US. He frequently features in international exhibitions such as The Empire Strikes Back:Indian art Today at the Saatchi Gallery (London, 2010); Where Dreams Cross: 150 years of Photography fromIndia, Pakistan and Bangladesh at the Whitechapel Gallery (London, 2010); and Hanging Fire: ContemporaryArt from Pakistan at the Asia Society Museum (New York, 2009). Since 2006 Rana’s works have beenappearing in the major auctions of contemporary art, where their prices have placed him among the sixhighest performing photographers at auction worldwide.
The Musée Guimet
The Musée Guimet was the creation of Emile Guimet (1836-1918), a Lyons industrialist who devised theproject of opening a museum devoted to the religions of Ancient Egypt, Classical Antiquity, and Asia.Guimet visited Egypt and Greece before traveling around the world in 1876, stopping off in Japan,China and India. In the course of his travels he acquired extensive collections of objects that he put ondisplay in a museum that was opened in Lyon in 1879. These collections were subsequently transferred toa new museum which he had built in Paris and which was inaugurated ten years later. From 1945, withinthe framework of a massive reorganization of the French national collections, the Musée Guimettransferred its Egyptian pieces to the Louvre and, in return, received the entire collection of objects fromthe Louvre’s Department of Asian Arts.The Musée Guimet6, place d’Iéna75116 ParisTel: 0033 1 56 52 53 00The museum is open every day (except Tuesday) from 10:00 to 18:00