New Delhi: It’s a world with no future. A dystopia. A warning society. A cautionary tone. A locale where all that prevail are gigantic iron structures; glimpses of Romanesque buildings; a sleeping man; set in a landscape that is desolate and devoid of any human habitat, occasionally traversed by war ships and tankers at a distant horizon – only an uncomfortable silence spells the looming presence of the ominous. Kazi Nasir’s oeuvre takes the viewer in a land of disorientation – in a land where the spectator fails to locate the identifiable and finds himself in an uncanny horizon, beyond the limit of the known and in the prison of a menacing and dehumanising world.
In his first solo show in Delhi, titled Isolation, Black Ship, etc., including watercolours and acrylics on canvas, that will be on from November 20, 2010 till December 12, 2010 at Latitude 28, F-208, Lado Sarai, New Delhi-110030, the artist uses war planes and warships, monstrous exhaust pipes, self-portraits of the artist dressed up in the most contemporary way, roses with thorns, fire emitting tankers, fiery celestial bodies raining from the heaven, smoky skies, distant blue horizons that speak of an uncharted future.
Kazi Nasir’s landscape is a baffling situation – a future landscape – the outcome of the ravages of times; a culmination of human destruction. The viewer discovers himself in an uncharted time and the future he confronts becomes his immediate present.
Says Bhavna Kakar, Director, Latitude 28: “Like most dystopian fiction which takes place in the future but often deliberately incorporates contemporary social trends taken to extremes, Nasir’s works combine motifs from the current urban culture of fashion, film and design but places them in a context that is bizarre but not unrealistic. His imagery is powerful in the choice of symbols and technically perfect!”
An element of scepticism is apparent in Nasir’s uncharted world that evolves from an influence of nihilist literature and the writings of authors such as Alexander Herzen of 19th century Russia. Who is to blame? is a story by Herzen about how the domestic happiness of a young tutor, who marries the unacknowledged daughter of a Russian sensualist of the old type, dull, ignorant and genial, is troubled by a Russian sensualist of the new school, intelligent, accomplished, and callous, with there being no possibility of saying who is most to blame for the tragic ending.
Through the works in his latest show, Nasir, inspired by Herzen’s story tries to underline the futility of destructive human desires, generated by callousness, act of the unscrupulous mind. The artist poses as the tragic hero, who helplessly gropes in the dark, searching for the truth. In the mind of the artist, mankind lives the life of a hermit.
Every human being “tries to live in isolation”, says Kazi Nasir. The neighbourhood ceases to exist. Isolation thus becomes the ‘devil’. It makes people grow into unscrupulous beings, raging war against each other. Their habitats grow into islands, reach beyond the limits of time and become stages for deadly actions. The images that populate his canvases are made to appear sizeable, which finally confer their presence. Singled out and loud – they announce their being. Their making is therefore crucial to the artist. The individual objects hardly try to extend and connect with each other, but remain suspended in space as individual objects; beings, disparately set in time. The objects often speak out as characters in a comic strip; as characters in a stage play. Humans and objects talk in soliloquy. They do not reciprocate as though all individuals are from an alienated world. Their streams of consciousness do not cross paths but their chains of thoughts conflict. Says the artist: “He (man) is searching (for) a reason, so he cannot be the reason”.
Kazi Nasir completed his Bachelor’s Degree from Government College of Art and Crafts, Kolkata. It was since then that he reacted against the model that trained artists in technical skills but not so much in innovativeness. His first and foremost urge thus was to create a more contemporary model to evolve a global language.
Hence in his works, one can find a miniaturist precision while the images are finished photo-realistically. Nasir often has resorted to images from picture dictionaries as they appear – illustrated with labels and pointers. The pointers have been retained by the artist, which he has let grow and become part of the images and his signature style. This also explains his approach to images – a tempting inclination that can hardly be resisted the moment he discovers an image in a colourful dictionary. The images therefore retain a crisp, commercial exactitude of the highest degree. The urban culture with its contemporary fashion, design, films, thoughts are evidently present in the works, but not without mediation. Subsequently the images are often visual interpretations of ideas / phrases such as ‘Guns and Roses’. Guns often become morphosed with roses at their mouths, turning them into thorny phalluses. A car without wheels wants to move forth and announces its intention through speech – but without destiny. They forget their purpose. They become hermaphrodites.
In his works, every object, living or non-living, announce their being, but hardly try to connect with each other. They remain suspended in space as individual beings talking in soliloquy. Their chains of thoughts conflict with each other. In Nasir’s canvas work, Meandering Pillar, the solitary artist sits and thinks “Who is to blame?” a wheel-less car enters the scene saying “Hey… move…let me go” The artist thus turns the space into a stage where characters perform actions in a strange deranged way. They come to darkness to talk, but what prevails is the sound of silence!