Modern Art in Pakistan: History, Tradition, Place (Visual and Media Histories)

by Simone Wille

cover of Modern Art in Pakistan: History, Tradition, Place (Visual and Media Histories)

‘This book is an important contribution towards understanding aspects of Pakistani modernism and its location within the larger setting of South Asia and beyond through art. It examines works of artists who were instrumental in establishing the space for engaging with and reformulating traditional and modernist approaches. The study further looks at the ways in which artists of the following generation built on this legacy through experiments with form and space. The author persuasively uses a formalistic approach to analyse works and their relationship to tradition. She explores the complex legacies of artistic practice and art historical discourse that emerged in Pakistan in the aftermath of the Partition of the Indian subcontinent.’ – from the front flap

With preface by Monica Juneja and afterword by Iftikhar Dadi.

This Series takes as its starting point notions of the visual, and of vision, as central in producing meanings, maintaining aesthetic values, and relations of power. Through individual studies, it hopes to chart the trajectories of the visual as an activating principle of history. An important premise here is the conviction that the making, theorizing, and historicizing of images of not exist in exclusive distinction of one another.

Opening up the field of vision as an arena in which meanings get constituted simultaneously anchors vision to other media such as audio, spatial, and the dynamics of spectatorship. It calls for closer attention to inter-textual and inter-pictorial relationships through which ever-accruing layers of readings and responses are brought alive.

Through its regional focus on South Asia the Series locates itself within a prolific field of writing on non-Western cultures which have opened the way to pluralise iconographies, and to perceive temporalities as scrambled and palimpsestic. These studies, it is hoped, will continued to reframe debates and conceptual categories in visual histories. The importance attached here to investigating the historical dimensions of visual practice implies close attention to specific local contexts which intersect and negotiate with the global, and can re-constitute it. Examining the ways in which different media are to be read onto and through one another would extend the thematic range of the subjects to be addressed by the Series to include those which cross the boundaries that once separated the privileged subjects of art historical scholarship from the popular – sculpture, painting and monumental architecture – from other media: studies of film, photography, and prints on the one hand, advertising, television, posters, calendars, comics, buildings, and cityscapes on the other.