Imran Qureshi’s Miniature Paintings at the Barbican: Where the Shadows are so Deep
photos: Jacqueline Smith
Qureshi’s 35 miniature paintings hung in the 90metre span of the Curve Gallery explore basic concepts of proportion and contrast to provoke an emotional as well as aesthetic experience.
You are invited to create 35 WORD miniatures to provoke an emotional as well as aesthetic experience.
Between Barbican and Mary Ward, seek out 35 tiny things.
These might be literally tiny in size, or they might be minute because of the unit of time in which you observe them, or the wordage you give them.
Think about the different ways you can write – get rid of anything extraneous.
Write with all your senses: a miniature taste, a sound…
Think about including within your selection things that show us the emotional range of the landscape – there is brutality in Qureshi’s painting as well as beauty.
A list is perfect for this, but if you have other ideas, do go ahead.
“[But] the belief in UFOs has its serious side: fear in the face of cosmic solitude. I don’t mean to make light of this, I’ll just try to ask a few questions. Would this solitude really be so awful? So unbearable? … Would we really be driven to darkest despair by the news that life doesn’t exist beyond Earth? ….Would that really be the worst of all possible news? Perhaps just the opposite — it would sober us, brace us, teach us mutual respect, point us toward a slightly more human way of life? Perhaps we wouldn’t talk so much nonsense, tell so many lies, if we knew that they were echoing throughout the cosmos? Maybe a single, other life would finally gain the value it deserves, the value of a phenomenon, a revelation, a specimen unique to the entire universe? Every stage manager knows that the tiny figure of an actor against the backdrop of dark curtains on a vast and empty stage becomes monumental in every word and gesture… And after all, would the solitude we fear so much really be so solitary? Along with all the other people, plants, and animals?”
Wislawa Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012) Cosmic
Miniature street treasures, from the Barbican to Queen’s Square
- Landlocked starfish cling to bollards near the Barbican
- One third of a flowering primula in Silk Street. A pink petal with a yellow centre
- Yellow exclamation mark on bus stop warns that you’d be waiting in vain for the oncoming bus in Silk St
- The ‘l’ in public announcement sign keeps the warning from being pubic, Beech Street tunnel
- Smithfield Market. A pull tag on top of a discarded Red Bull can helped keep someone awake early this morning
- A black sesame seed lends a tiny capsule of flavour at Itsu, Cowcross St.
- Plastic cherries strewn across the optician’s window, Antony Austin Ltd Farringdon
- The claw of a sunbathing golden Labrador, Costa Coffee Farringdon
- Undone shoelace from old man’s shoe drags the pavement on Saffron Hill
- A grey button strains its cardigan across the belly of a Jewish gem dealer, Hatton Garden
- The second hand of a Maurice Lacroix watch, A.R Ullman Greville St.
- Foil wrapped chocolate Easter eggs in happy face yellow bucket next to solitaire diamond rings in Diamond Time, Hatton Garden window
- White plastic rabbit face with pink ears on corner of 2nd hand child’s activity centre outside Age UK Charity shop, Leather Lane
- £1.00 orange price ticket on More Foam bath cleaner at S&M tools, Leather Lane
- Pointed finger on “Major Spice” sign, the medaled major advertising his wrap and jerk. Food van, Leather Lane.
- Green elastic bands keep discarded flowers orderly in waste bags outside Wild and Bloom Theobald’s Road
- Overheard in Theobald’s Road: “Not in a million years”
- Dandy Dinmont dog fridge magnets at Magma , Theobald’s Road
- “Very Soon” chalk graffiti on hoarding, Clerkenwell Road.
- Link of a chain securing ornamental tree to cafe, Great James Street
- Small wooden doorjamb brings the fresh air in via the open door at Grenson’s shoe shop, Lambs Conduit St
- The hand of an anatomical model. Bodyology Chinese medicine shop and massage centre Old Gloucester St.
- Replica of Nelson’s coffin at A. France Funeral Director, Lamb’s Conduit St
- Green felt hunting hats on taxidermy hare with gun and fox carrying pheasant at Holland and Co, Lamb’s Conduit St
- Blue lion and orange pig plastic pencil sharpeners at Volte Face Great Ormond St
- Vortex of ornamental manhole cover, Great Ormond St
- Espresso infused inhalation passing the Espresso Room, Great Ormond St
- 7 Smarties, yellow orange and blue dropped by a small boy Queen’s Square
White pigeon’s feather on the grass, Queens Square
Miniatures 1: Quereshi at The Curve
A tree of life grows from a carpet of blood flowing to the river
flowers grow from matter
a dead man was buried here and another grows from the ground
blooded creatures crawl across the curve of the earth
the death warrant is sealed by unseen hands
black rain falls on a green hill side, flowers drip crimson
a swarm of dragonflies joins the feast
corpuscles circle the trees, entwining their trunks
birds fly over an empty miniature sea
a green landscape is shaved of vegetation
a rabbit sits in a pool of blood
the page of a book, a planet of crimson
gold leaf on turquoise frames its dystopian future
prehistoric spring green ferns
narcissus peeping at the edge of hell
Beaten gold surrounds the sea
where little boats sail, oblivious to the onslaught
a copper forest with red fruit
a tree whose tangled corpuscles are blackened by angry red
Now all is dark, even the insects depart
vermillion blood buds picnic on the wasteland
and after they leave, their ancestors take root
blossoming crimson under a cobalt sky.
The insects return, and the cycle continues.
Astrid Sutton Sharkey
Sunshine on my eyelids
Light show in fountains splatter.
Loose leaf tea in tea bag that can’t be read.
Pigeons with non stumped claws.
Camera at crotch level
Cracks and cast iron manhole covers
Man weeding wildflower patch.
Dog ends, take away coffee cups, broken beer bottles. Addict’s debris.
Shadows of railings striping the pavement.
Chewing gum, bird shit, spattered white corpuscle,
England flag, filling window above Hardcore Supplies Co.
Long Acre Reclaimed Flooring Co.
Gilded gates and mosaic graffiti above entrance to church.