Imran Qureshi:
Where the Shadows are so Deep
The Curve, Barbican Centre
18 February – 10 July 2016
Media View, 17 February, 10am – 1pm
Admission Free

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England

Barbican has commissioned the award-winning Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi to create a new work for the Curve. For his first major London commission, Qureshi presents a series of exquisite miniature paintings, drawing upon the curve as a motif in this tradition. Beginning with gentle scenes of nature, the sequence of works gradually introduces darker elements, subtly implying the uncertainty of what lies around the bend. Hung at varying heights along the dramatic 90-metre span of the space, these delicate, jewel-like paintings lure the visitor in, demanding an altogether different kind of looking. Imran Qureshi: Where the Shadows are so Deep opens in the Curve gallery on Thursday 18 February 2016.

Imran Qureshi said: “In my site-specific installations I always try to create a dialogue between the architecture of a site and my practice. I have been painting directly on the floor and walls of all my work in situ since 2001. When I visited the Curve I was awed by the scale and flow of the space. I thought of doing something in that space which would be completely unexpected, something very simple but strong. Miniature painting is at the root of my practice: it completely informs my thinking and sensibility. In the tradition of Mughal miniature paintings, a curve-like shape has always been an important element in the formal depiction of a landscape.”

Imran Qureshi is one of the foremost artists from Pakistan, having reclaimed the historic craft of miniature painting and stretched its ornamental traditions to their limits. Indian and Persian miniatures in the 16th century revolved around courtly life and for Qureshi, the style continues to act as a space for social commentary, often with the addition of very subtle darker elements amidst its intricate scenes.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said “I’m proud to announce our latest Curve commission by one of Pakistan’s leading contemporary artists. Over the last 20 years Imran Qureshi has expanded the possibilities of the miniaturist painting tradition in which he was schooled, while at the same time engaging with site-specific installations of sublime proportions and beauty. Qureshi immediately saw the Curve as a vast canvas that would allow him to play with scale, narrative and the polarities of dark and light. I expect his installation to be delicate and yet arresting – quite unlike any other we have staged.”

Born in Hyderabad, Pakistan, in 1972, Imran Qureshi was made ‘Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year’ in 2013 with an exhibition at the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, in 2014. Recent international exhibitions include a site-specific installation for the opening of the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto (2014), Imran Qureshi: The God of Small Things at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in Michigan (2014) and The Roof Garden Commission at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2013). He participated in the Venice Biennales in 2015 and 2013, was commissioned by Art on the Underground in 2014 and produced a major installation for Sharjah Biennial in 2011. He lives and works in Lahore.


Notes to Editors

Press Information
For further information, images or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Ann Berni, Media Relations Manager
+44 207 382 7169,

Ariane Oiticica, Media Relations Officer
+44 207 382 6162,

Public Information

The Curve, Barbican, London
Opening times:
Saturday–Wednesday 11am–8pm
Thursday & Friday 11am–9pm
Bank Holidays 12pm–8pm
Public information: 0845 120 7550 /
Admission free

Curve book series
Imran Qureshi’s Curve exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated publication, including an introductory essay by the exhibition curator Eleanor Nairne and a series of reflections by Booker Prize-nominated author Mohsin Hamid. The book is the third in a new publication series by Barbican Art Gallery and Ridinghouse which focuses on the Curve exhibition programme, and launches with a talk with artist Imran Qureshi. ISBN: 9781909932210. Price £9.95 

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Press images available online from the Barbican Newsroom
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The Curve
The Curve is the Barbican’s free exhibition space that wraps around the back of the Concert Hall. Launched in May 2006, Curve Art is a series of new commissions in which contemporary artists respond to the distinctive architecture of the space. Artists who have previously made new commissions for the Curve are Tomas Saraceno (Argentina); Richard Wilson (Britain); Jeppe Hein (Denmark); Marjetica Potr č (Slovenia); Shirana Shahbazi (Switzerland/Iran); Hans Schabus (Austria); Huang Yong Ping (France/China); Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Canada/Mexico); Peter Coffin (USA); Clemens von Wedemeyer (Germany); Robert Kusmirowski (Poland); Céleste Boursier-Mougenot (France); John Bock (Germany); Damián Ortega (Mexico); Cory Arcangel (USA); Junya Ishigami (Japan); Song Dong (China); rAndom International (Britain); Geoffrey Farmer (Canada); Ay ş e Erkmen (Germany/Turkey); United Visual Artists (Britain); Walead Beshty (USA/Britain); Roman Signer (Switzerland); and most recently Eddie Peake (Britain).

About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.8 million people pass through the Barbican’s doors annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.

The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia , and Associate Producer Serious . Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment , Cheek by Jowl , Deborah Warner and Michael Clark Company . International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam , New York Philharmonic , Los Angeles Philharmonic , Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center .

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