ArtNow presents the Art Section at the 2015 Karachi Literature Festival featuring ‘Through the Looking Glass: A Selection of Works by Amin Gulgee’ curated by Zarmeené Shah.

Discussing Lewis Carroll’s surreal tale of Alice’s adventures through the spaces that she comes to occupy, Amin likened this to the experience of going into his own workshop; a space of madness and order, where things are never quite as they seem to be and one never knows how one will eventually come to navigate through its space: “an endless journey where questions have no answers but only lead to more questions.” Amin’s practice is nothing if not spiritual, inward looking, deconstructive, unendingly breaking open the familiar in order to reveal the new – rethinking, reimagining, reassembling – and at its nucleus are his studio and workshop. “This is the place where acts of creation occur and reality is challenged, configured and reconfigured again and again in a consistently evolving practice that submerges itself, through a continuous exploration of persisting concerns, in an act of difference and repetition through which new events are allowed to transpire and alternate spaces come to exist. In this process the artist himself is formed and re-formed time and time again, his face made whole, broken, reassembled, turned on its axis, flipped on its head.” (ZS, 2013)

Faces, hands, leaves, calligraphic texts, geometric forms that fuse with the organic in an unrelenting exploration of form and space – these are all recurring motifs in Amin’s work. A philosophy of repetition that resonates with the spirituality inherent in the act of repetition in Islamic Art. Where complex geometric patterns come together to create a seemingly unending repetition that alludes to the infinite nature of God, they also indicate the importance of the small, singular element, through the repetition of which one is able to aspire towards an infinite whole. In addition, Amin’s materials of choice (bronze, copper) are elemental, alchemical, evocative of nature and the earth – the magical and the spiritual, and of course, the human. These are and have long remained the concepts at the core of Amin’s practice: themes of life, birth, death, humanity, spirituality, creation, destruction, mortality and love.

– Zarmeené Shah

Photos courtesy of Jamal Ashiqain.