Thursday, 6 October 2011

Rashid Rana + Asia Triennial At Cornerhouse


Last Friday saw the openings of Rashid Rana’s first major public show, titled ‘Everything Is Happening At Once’, and the Asia Triennial Manchester 11 at the keystone of modern art in Manchester, Cornerhouse.

Rana’s exhibition is an accumulation of his work from 2006 to present. His work looks to blend the line between the viewers perception of imagery. With the use of uniform grids, and matrixes of phenomenal quantity of photos, Rana challenges his cultural heritage with underlining layers hidden within the scale, only visible up close, a blur and unreadable at a glance. Particularly in Gallery 2, ‘Between Flesh and Blood’, there is a collection of works that challenge culturally and politically the perception of multi-culture and unified world. At a far the space appears to be littered with great mosaics and carpets from Asia, yet up close you begin to see their true detail, and a new layer is revealed. Small images build up the bigger picture, images of slaughtered animals manifest themselves into a beautiful Persian carpet. A typical mosaic begins to fade into a sea of tiled pornographic images, only visible at close proximity. Other pieces that lay across the 3 floors range from the aforementioned subjective images to grand scaled objects of art that use the space and exploration of the viewer to create a unique interaction with itself.

Rana work deals with the concept of scale beautifully, ‘Deseperatley Seeking Paradise II’ draws you into to it’s grandeur and prominence in the room. As one circles and begins to read what is on show the large scale skyline is revealed out of nowhere. It then all changes, as one gets closer the scales shifts and the revelation of the matrix of images depicting small houses from the artist’s hometown of Lahore in Pakistan. The exhibition successfully engages with it’s audience on many levels, and the interaction and visual teasing leads to an enjoyable exploration of the space.

The Asia Triennial Manchester 11 launched on Friday. A festival celebrating contemporary visual art from Asia. Rana’s exhibition is just one of the features happening between the 1st of October and 27th of November. Cornerhouse is also showcasing the film programme for the festival and a variety of talks curated for the festival. Events are happening across the city and information about it can be found on their website;

Cornerhouse sits at the heart of contemporary culture in Manchester. It’s dominance of the scene is a testament to the beliefs it works to, and the determination to showcase contemporary pieces of all medias across all platforms. Except what now is to become of Cornerhouse. Plans are already set in motion, with international architects Mecanoo designing a new home for Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre, what does the future hold for this landmark outlet of art. We are all in awe of the current space, and some trepidation has to be felt for the relocation and space that it will transition to. Finally what is to become of the space in which we love to got to, will it’s function change, or is it merely an expansion and faith in the success of contemporary art.

Rashid Rana: Everything is Happening at Once runs at Cornerhouse, Manchester from Sat 01 Oct until Fri 30 Dec 2011 and admission is free.

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