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Living Colours: ‘Old Pakistani masters are important names in art world’

Living Colours: ‘Old Pakistani masters are important names in art world’

Asadur Rehman, of French-Pakistani origin, has lived in Paris for nearly 34 years. An artist and sculptor, Mr Rehman belongs to the abstract expressionism school of thought and is also fond of flying. He studied contemporary art and design in Paris, and spends most of his time with close friend and fellow sculptor César Baldachinni, who spent a significant portion of his life with Pablo Picasso. Dawn spoke to Mr Rehman who was recently in Islamabad with his latest exhibition.

Q: What is it about your technique that it takes as long as a year to finish a painting?




A: I paint with oil colours mostly, and sometimes incorporate mixed media. The expressionistic approach often depends on layers of impasto (thickness) and the subjective nature of this genre or painting. My work is something like action paintings, similar to that of American abstract expressionist painters Jackson Pollock and Willem Dakooning, who quite often used thick layers of paint.

Q: Who are some of your inspirations?

A: There are numerous expressionist painters who have inspired me to paint, such as the Russian painter and art theorist Wassily Kandinsky, one of the fathers of abstract paintings, credited with painting one of the first purely abstract works. But among the old Pakistani masters, Ahmad Pervez and Sadequain are extremely important names in the world of art. Baloch artist Saeed Akhtar is among the contemporary painters I like. These artists have contributed significantly to Pakistani art.

Q: Are Pakistani artists recognised in the contemporary art scene?

A: There is no doubt that some old masters have made their names worldwide, like Sadequain, to mention one. The contemporary art scene is quite exciting, but not a lot of Pakistani artists are known in the western world. They still have to go a long way before their efforts are fully acknowledged.

Q: How do you feel about the contemporary art scene in the west?

A: The foreign art scene has become too commercial with a lot of money involved in it. The art scene in the west belongs to a certain class who decide the fate of the artist. The rise and fall of an artist depends on their choices. To give an example, one of the finest Italian painters and sculptors, Amedeo Modigliani, sold for a colossal $170 million recently. But the late artist was so poor, he could not even afford a bottle of wine throughout his life.

Published in Dawn, November 20th, 2015

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