Quick Look: Make Me A Black Hole and I Will Believe You

I meant to write a little note about Mohammed Qasim Ashfaq’s “Make Me A Black Hole and I Will Believe You”, but since I have a flight to catch in precise 12 hours, I’m not going to get round to it clearly.

So it’ll have to be some very rushed notes and a few pictures of the works.

Quite evidently, I’ve nicked 4 of those photos from the gallery’s website.

Charming show, this one. Islamic art meets party decoration meets Star Wars — that’s what I thought as my eyes flitted between the silver wall work, the neat drawings and the curious maquettes. The show is beautiful to look but not in an empty, decorative way. All the works respond to one another, which serves to make “Make Me A Black Hole and I Will Believe You” feel tightly-knit as a show. The geometry of the wall work is reflected in the drawings and the maquettes. In case of the drawings, the reflection is literal. A phantom image of the silvery pattern on the wall (made of aluminium strips) is visible on the glass protecting the drawings. The angles and planes of that wall work can be seen again in the maquettes, this time a little warped.

Looking at the wall work, I could see where the strips had overlapped. It reminded me of the deliberate errors that classical artists would leave in Arabesques so that the work wouldn’t be perfect. (Only Allah can create perfection, not man.) The idea of symbolising eternity through a pattern — one of the fundamental principles of Islamic art — can be seen in the wall work. Not just because it’s replicated and stretches across the walls but also because the pattern is reflected on the glossy floor.

The different textures and shades of black in the show are very interesting. Ashfaq’s works really underscore the dynamism of the black. There’s a purity to it, which is interesting. Black doesn’t come across as dark. Rather, it shines and is luminous. Quite, quite lovely. Also, interesting to look at how Ashfaq plays around with illusions, textures and black next to Atul Dodiya’s “Bako Exists. Imagine”.

His drawings are absolutely gorgeous. The precision of those lines is stunning. Now that’s what I call rigour.

Those hair bobble-shaped maquettes made me think of Jonathan Swift’s Brobdingnag. It’s so easy to imagine that piece wound around a giant baby’s ponytail.

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