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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Akbar Naqvi on Bilal Maqsood - Sound and Vision

Please do click on the link to view the paintings. Akbar Naqvi has written the authorative and exhaustive book on Art in Pakistan. Bilal you may recognise as one of the Strings ~~t

Now that one has said a few words about Bilal’s musical power, one is faced with his intervention in the visual arts, particularly old-fashioned painting, with its humble tools like the brush, the palette knife and, in time to come, even his fingers. He told me that like a potter he likes to muck around with paints.

This is a salutary breakthrough of a well known artist at a time when, but for a few painters, art students have forgotten how to paint. In the age of conceptual art and installations, we have left aesthetics behind and entered the phase of sociology and economics in art, which are art in name only. I will suffice with a quotation from my guru Robert Hughes: “One gets tired of the role critics are supposed to have in this culture. It’s like being the piano player in a whorehouse, you don’t have any control over the action going on upstairs.” What goes on in the name of arts is merchandising and speculation on investment, and the egregious Satchi, the advertiser, is its new Medici prince or medieval Pope.

Bilal paints in more than one style, so forceful is his urge to muck around with paint, but I shall comment mostly on his crow paintings. He paints them because he likes them. They are not menacing like the swarm of crows Van Gogh painted flying over a field, before he shot himself. Bilal’s subjects are friendly pests that live on strictly their own terms....


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