MSS 2010, Maladroit Adenoidal Terropolitics, Oct 30- 31 at Minaret Art Gallery.
From ‘Belief storm’, Ishma Malik, Random Monthly, Nov 2010:
The Minaret Gallery from its very inception has been striving to showcase innovative and scholarly approaches to art, and the gallery’s current show, ‘Maladroit Adenoidal Terropolitics,’ directly references the yawning, yearning chasm between the two for visual metaphors voicing notions of the here and now.
According to the artist MSS, the exhibition evolved out of a conscious examination of indigenous literary and cultural traditions to discover and build original forms/imagery, as opposed to borrowing and improvising western constructs. “That is why my artists statement was in English”, she said.
Curator Gulbadan Ilyas says she found resonance in the way MSS derived inspiration from the vernacular and the effervescent ethereal elixir of elucidation, and, in a time when the notions of the self (as well as the here and now, and possibly also then) were rapidly shifting, found her interpretation of the irrelevant very relevant.
While the menacing tail in the ‘Overweight Earthworm of Sorrow’ spell the devastating floods – a subtle testament to MSS’s ability to reverse colonize western constructs by implying PK should be added under UK and US on word spell-check options - and the reality of ‘Insert The Obvious Here’ hits right at the heart of Islamabad, it is the intricate ‘Bunny Love’ fridge magnet (simulation) which draws you in. Bordered with a minute metallic fence with details finely etched in fields of gold the work, prosaic at first glance, is quite a twister. As well as quite a fridge magnet.
MSS has inverted the pleasurable sentiments of unnatural splendor by intersecting the personal with the political in what hints of the self-portrait in ‘I Am What You Get When You Take the Fun Out of Fundamental.’ Juxtaposed with the blank canvas of ‘You Take the AAAAR out of Art’ on Minarets wall space, it enunciates the tension between the metaphysical and the metaphorical in the material world as she theoretically plays with the positive and destructive sensibilities the ‘art’ concept can generate in people.
But it is in ‘Sisterhood of the Traveling Yakfest’ that the artist moves away from tentative modulations to give a free rein to her flair for fantasy to craft a fictional monstrosity. As an artist, MSS has responded intelligently to this exercise of accessing graphical and painterly descriptions from cultural and literary sources, and then remaking them completely. She was no doubt aided in this by her consistent homage to the three fonts of her primary influence, Sadequain, Miro and Batman.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Maladroit Adenoidal Terropolitics was inspired by this piece in Newsline magazine. No (significant) disrespect is intended to the writer of the original, and none whatsoever to the artists and curators mentioned in this. I just wished to make the points that what tends to pass for visual art reviews/criticism in Pakistan wouldn’t pass Go in Monopoly, and asking artists to write statements is a bit like asking writers to doodle in the margins of their manuscripts. Surely the point of both is to make the art more rather than less accessible to everyone else?