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Exhibition blurs line between ‘art’ and ‘furniture’

Exhibition blurs line between ‘art’ and ‘furniture’

ISLAMABAD: The Satrang Gallery at Serena Hotel has expanded its repertoire of innovative exhibitions by featuring the work of Muzafar Mohiuddin, who crafted extraordinary pieces of furniture – each an objet d’art in its own right.

For the first time Satrang Gallery showcased modern furniture and the talented young designer, in an exhibit titled ‘Dissonance’, saying: “Even though muted in a gray scale, every piece speaks volumes of the beauty that is this country and the potential that this nation holds.”

Muzafar was inspired by Yves Klein and his legendary monochrome installations in Paris and created furniture pieces that highlight the beauty and heritage of Pakistan.

He said: “I first came across the concept of monochrome art back in 2013, while reading an article on legendary Yves Klein... I was already soaked into the beautiful wheat fields that I was being driven through when I came across the words ‘all colours arouse ideas’ and it was these words that sowed the idea for this exhibition.”

He added: “I have depicted Pakistan’s magnificent landscapes in my furniture using a monochrome palette of a limited number of shades. I wanted to focus on values of one colour. I chose a greyscale which to me arouses melancholy – despair and sadness that arises thinking of the heart rending image of beloved Pakistan that personifies us as a nation.

“Ironically all these negative connotations exist in the face of a proud cultural past, natural abundance, great craft and a hardworking people.”

A limited number of pieces were presented at the exhibition, making each a collector’s item. A complex three panel screen called ‘Blood and Sweat of a Brick Kiln Labour’ reflected the scene at a brick kiln, whereas the alternate panels took the form of numerous singular bricks.

Titled ‘A Fisherman in Arabian Sea’, a straight line writing desk was painted with images of Karachi’s harbour on the façade. The school of fish painted on top symbolised the daily catch. A charming feature of the desk were the drawer pulls which were crafted of mother of pearl, another treasure of the sea, found in a small Phuket market.

‘Chitral’s pride’ was a piece close to the artist’s heart, as he said: “It takes me back to my native town. This bookshelf depicts the towering Hindu Kush range, often called The Roof of the World. The frieze is endorsed by antlers, a flea market find in Brooklyn.”

While the pieces were limited the range certainly wasn’t, with Muzafar taking the opportunity to demonstrate his dexterity with a chair, a dumbwaiter supported of a tripod stand, a console and an armoire.

Mamoona Riaz said: “Furniture is normally considered functional but that in no way implies that it cannot be artistic and aesthetically complex. The boundary between design and art has become blurred, and everyday objects like furniture are catering to the art connoisseur.”

Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2016

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